LIFE SATISFACTION AND LOCUS OF CONTROL AS A FUNCTION OF THE LEVEL OF ASPIRATION IN YOUNG-OLD AND OLD-OLD ADULTS

CYNTHIA ANN KABAT, Fordham University

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the relationship of the level of aspiration disparity score to life satisfaction and locus of control in two groups of aged individuals, the young-old (ages 60 to 69) and the old-old (ages 70 to 79). It was predicted that for all subjects a positive disparity score would be associated with greater life satisfaction and a more internal locus of control than a negative disparity score, that for the young-old a small positive disparity score would be associated with greater life satisfaction and a more internal locus of control than a large positive disparity score while the opposite would be true for the old-old, and that for all subjects the larger the negative disparity score the lower the life satisfaction and the more external the locus of control.^ The subjects were 50 females between the ages of 60 and 69 and 50 females between the ages of 70 and 79, who were volunteers from various senior citizens centers. They were living in the community and were relatively well functioning. The subjects were screened for minimal levels of physical and intellectual competence using the short form of the WAIS, the Physical Self-Maintenance Scale, and the Mental Status Questionnaire. The independent variable was measured using the Rotter Level of Aspiration Test. The dependent variables were assessed using the Life Satisfaction Scale, the Philadelphia Geriatric Scale, the Internal-External Scale, and the Health Locus of Control Scale.^ The results revealed a relationship between a positive disparity score and increased life satisfaction on the Life Satisfaction Scale but not on the Philadelphia Geriatric Morale Scale. The results demonstrated that subjects with positive disparity scores had more internal scores on the Internal-External Scale; however, no difference was found between positive and negative disparity scorers on the Health Locus of Control Scale. The correlations between the magnitude of the positive disparity score and the dependent variables were not significant. However, the differences between the correlations for the young-old and old-old were statistically significant. Extreme negative scores were associated with lowered life satisfaction on the Life Satisfaction Index A, but not on the Philadelphia Geriatric Morale Scale, and only for the old-old subjects.^ The results of this study were consistent with previous studies which have found that optimistic attitudes toward the self are associated with enhanced life satisfaction. It was suggested that the relationship between the level of aspiration disparity score and life satisfaction on the Philadelphia Geriatric Morale Scale and locus of control on the Internal-External Scale may have occurred because the level of aspiration is a feature of a personality type which is predictive of life satisfaction.^ Several reasons were proposed for the lack of a stronger relationship between the level of aspiration disparity score and the dependent variables. Among them were the highly select nature of the subject population, content differences between the scales, fatigue on the part of subjects, and the motor format of the level of aspiration test.^ Regarding future research, the present investigator found a willingness and ability on the part of the aged to participate in psychological research. It was suggested that in future research with the level of aspiration and the aged variables such as whether the subject was male or female or institutionalized or noninstitutionalized be taken into account. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

KABAT, CYNTHIA ANN, "LIFE SATISFACTION AND LOCUS OF CONTROL AS A FUNCTION OF THE LEVEL OF ASPIRATION IN YOUNG-OLD AND OLD-OLD ADULTS" (1980). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8020064.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8020064

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