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Theses Doctoral

Psychological Well-being among Three Age Groups of Older Americans Living in the Community

Akashi, Rumiko Kakishima

This research explores factors associated with psychological well-being (happiness, depressive symptomatology, and anxiety) among three groups of older adults living in the community: the soon-to-be-old (ages 50-64), the young-old (ages 65-74), and the old-old (ages 75 and over). The study is framed within the conceptual framework of the stress and coping model and informed by socio-emotional selectivity theory, the life course perspective, and critical theory. Using a national U.S. sample of adults over age 50 (the Aging, Status, and Sense of Control data), this construct allows for analysis of respondents' subjective factors for promoting or maintaining their psychological well-being. Data analysis explores age group differences on psychological well-being outcomes among the three age groups. Major findings demonstrate that average levels of psychological well-being vary only slightly by age cohort with age group having no significant unique effect on explaining any dimension of happiness, depressive symptomatology, or anxiety. Factors associated with these outcomes vary among age groups with only two common predictors for two outcomes. The most powerful predictors for all age groups are the 1995 psychological well-being covariates; other predictors are distinct by age group. The results show that factors associated with psychological well-being fall in multiple areas suggesting a need for multi-component interventions unique to each age group to maintain and promote psychological well-being among older adults. Findings endorse the positive aspect of aging demonstrating that individuals can maintain and promote positive psychological well-being in later life. Insights into policy, program, and social work practice to promote well-being among the rapidly growing and aging segment of the American population are discussed. Study limitations and implications for future research are presented.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Mui, Ada Chan Yuk-Sim
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 10, 2012
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