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Leisure, Perceptions of Control and Well-Being: Implications for the Institutionalized Elderly

Keith S Savell


A sample of institutionalized older adults (N = 43) were exposed to differential opportunities for choice and decision making in an effort to enhance perceived control. It was anticipated that enhanced perceived control would positively impact upon perceived physical well-being, psychological well-being and leisure satisfaction. Control was facilitated through the provision of opportunities for choice within a leisure context. Subjects within choice groups were provided either the opportunity to choose to participate in the daily (experimental)leisure program, or the opportunity to select from among four equally interesting activity alternatives while in the program, or both. Subjects in the no-choice group were afforded neither choice while subjects in the base-line group completed only the repeated measures ofthe dependent variables. A split plot (repeated measures) factorial design failed to identify the presence of any statistically significant differences between those groups provided opportunities for choice and decision making and those groups not provided such opportunities. The findings suggest that/or this sample ofsubjects, enhanced opportunities for choice and decision making had little or no influence on any ofthe dependent variables of perceived physical well-being, subjective well-being or leisure satisfaction. The subject pool, nursing home environment, dependent measures and the experimental design are each extensively reviewed as to their potential contribution to these findings.


Institutionalized Elderly, Nursing Home, Se/fDetermination/Perceived Control, Subjective Well-Being/Life-Satisfaction, Perceived Health, Therapeutic Recreation

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