THE DECOMPOSITION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELECTED DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS, PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS, AND LIFE SATISFACTION AMONG THE ELDERLY (PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING, DEVELOPMENT)

RAYMOND FRANK GRAFJE, Fordham University

Abstract

The study evaluated a causal model of selected demographic factors, domain-specific satisfaction variables, and personality characteristics to determine their direct and indirect effects on life satisfaction among the elderly. The exogenous variables were health status, income, self concept, locus of control, extraversion, and neuroticism. Health satisfaction and financial satisfaction were included in the model as intervening variables between the exogenous variables and the endogenous variable, life satisfaction.^ The primarily white female sample consisted of 166 volunteers from 15 senior citizen activity and nutrition centers and 72 subjects from a university program for the elderly, all in the New York metropolitan area. They ranged from 60 to 89 years of age, and had diverse educational, income, and health status levels.^ Each participant completed a social demographic questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, the Valecha and Ostrom Locus of Control Scale, and the Eysenck Personality Inventory.^ Path analysis was employed to determine the direct and indirect effects of the antecedent variables on life satisfaction.^ The proposed causal model effectively explained over 50 percent of the variance in life satisfaction, with health satisfaction, self concept, internal locus of control, financial satisfaction, and extraversion showing significant direct positive effects on life satisfaction. Health status and neuroticism had significant direct negative effects, while income had no significant direct effect on life satisfaction. The largest indirect effects on life satisfaction were those produced via health satisfaction (health status and neuroticism) and via financial satisfaction (income, health satisfaction, and locus of control).^ The results indicate that, in addition to being satisfied with their health and financial condition, elderly individuals are more likely to be satisfied with life if they have a favorable self image, are emotionally stable, feel in control of events, and are sociably involved with other people. The findings suggest that personality characteristics are key elements in predicting life satisfaction and should be used as routinely in investigations of life satisfaction as demographic factors have been used in the past. The results also demonstrate the value of path analysis in investigating interrelationships among the variables predicting life satisfaction among the elderly. ^

Subject Area

Gerontology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

GRAFJE, RAYMOND FRANK, "THE DECOMPOSITION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELECTED DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS, PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS, AND LIFE SATISFACTION AMONG THE ELDERLY (PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING, DEVELOPMENT)" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8423123.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8423123

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