The role of personality traits and coping strategies in late-life adaptation to vision loss

Dolores T Benn, Fordham University

Abstract

The interrelationships of personality, coping, and adaptation were examined in 150 elders experiencing late-life vision impairment. Two personality traits, neuroticism and optimism, were studied. Five coping strategies were studied: distancing, accepting responsibility, escape-avoidance, planful problem solving, and positive reappraisal. Adaptation was measured in terms of life satisfaction and depression, and one domain-specific indicator, adaptation to vision loss. Data were collected through in-person interviews.^ Path analyses tested the conceptual model that predicted coping to act as a mediator between personality and adaptation such that personality had only indirect effects on adaptation. Separate models were tested for neuroticism and optimism. This conceptual model was rejected as results indicated a poor fit to the data. Additional path analyses indicated that, with small indirect effects through distancing and escape-avoidance coping, neuroticism had significant direct effects on adaptation. Distancing and escape-avoidance each had significant direct effects on adaptation (life satisfaction and adaptation to vision). Without any indirect effects through planful problem solving and positive reappraisal coping, optimism had significant direct effects on adaptation. Positive reappraisal had a direct effect on only the domain-specific indicator, adaptation to vision loss. Planful problem solving did not have any effect on adaptation.^ Thus, personality and coping (primarily distancing and escape-avoidance) appeared to exert their effects directly on adaptation. Neuroticism and escape-avoidance were associated with reduced adaptation, and optimism and distancing were related to greater adaptation. However, failure to confirm the factor structure of the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988) suggests results regarding coping should be interpreted with caution and indicates a need for further investigation of elder coping with late-life visual impairment. ^

Subject Area

Gerontology|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Dolores T Benn, "The role of personality traits and coping strategies in late-life adaptation to vision loss" (January 1, 1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9730084.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9730084

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