Gerontology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Predictors of health literacy and its role in accessing Internet health knowledge among older Canadians

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis examined the role of health literacy in accessing Internet health knowledge and predictors of an adequate level of health literacy among older Canadians. Eighty-eight percent of older Canadians have been estimated to posses an inadequate level of health literacy. Internet use is also growing fastest among the same group. We hypothesized that seniors with an adequate level of health literacy would be more likely to search for health information online. We further hypothesized that predisposing, enabling, and need factors would differentially predict an adequate level of health literacy. Cross-sectional data from the IALSS (2003) were used. Seniors with an adequate level of literacy were nearly three times more likely to search for health information online. Unexpectedly, Internet access emerged as the only predictor of an adequate level of health literacy. Suggestions regarding the policy, practice, and research implications of our findings were put forth.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
A
Department: 
Out of date: Gerontology Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Exploring change in the meaning of home for South Asian Indians who immigrate in late-life

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Mixed-methods research explored change in the meaning of home for nine mainly Sikh, South Asian Indian (SAI) late-life immigrant women, living in the Vancouver area. One translated, three-hour, face-to-face semi-structured post-immigration interview was conducted with each participant. The meaning of home was also explored in a non-random survey of 40 SAI seniors. A conceptual model was developed to guide the interviews, analysis and findings. Findings include that reductions and changes in the meaning of home occurs after immigration and that core relationship and sociocultural meanings are established resulting in participants feeling at home. SAI ethnic enclaves promote congruence with the old home and competence in the new one. Strong place attachment to the Indian home prompted regular return trips, which sustained the participant’s "place" in their original neighbourhood networks, an important source of self identity that is not easily reproduced in Canada.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Gerontology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Nutrition and cardiovascular risk among mid-life adults: the role of self-efficacy

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

The process of aging can bring forth health-related challenges, specifically an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This thesis examines the effect of self-efficacy on changes in nutrition behaviour in an intervention aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk in mid-life persons (aged 45-64). The construct of self-efficacy refers to beliefs in our capabilities to undertake the actions necessary to produce a given goal. This psychological construct has shown to be a mediator between various determinants of health and subsequent health behaviour. Social Cognitive Theory lays the groundwork for examining self-efficacy. Undertaking a secondary data analysis of the Cardiovascular Health Best Practice Project, this study examines self-efficacy in both a general health and nutrition health context. Results show that nutrition self-efficacy, income, mutual aid, and family physician visits play a role in changing nutrition behaviour over time, contributing to the understanding and development of research and nutrition health promotion programs for this population.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
A
Department: 
Out of date: Gerontology Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

How does neighbourhood environment affect physical activity in later life? An exploratory case study of two North Vancouver neighbourhoods

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This case study explores environmental influences on the physical activity of older adults (age 60 and over) in two neighbourhoods. The concept of social capital – the resources available through one’s social networks – is used to explore social factors that affect physical activity in later life. A conceptual framework was developed to map relationships among key study concepts. Research methods included neighbourhood environmental audits, focus groups, and activity diaries. Findings confirmed neighbourhood differences in physical features hypothesized to impact physical activity. Neighbourhood physical and social factors identified as supports and barriers by participants themselves also differed. Moreover, one neighbourhood was found to be more supportive of walking for transport while the other was more supportive of recreational forms of physical activity. Individual participants differed in access to social capital from neighbourhood and personal networks. Relevant planning issues are discussed as they relate to physical activity promotion in later life.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
H
Department: 
Out of date: Gerontology Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Predictors of suicide-related ideation among older adults: exploring the role of impulsivity

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Research has demonstrated that impulsivity is strongly associated with suicide-related ideation and behaviour among young adults. To date, however, the potential importance of impulsivity as a predictor of suicide-related ideation in later life has yet to be determined. The current study set out to examine impulsivity, hopelessness, depressive symptomatology and socio-demographic factors vis-à-vis suicide-related ideation among a sample of older adults using both hierarchical regression and canonical correlation. A national sample was recruited from multiple sources for this study over a 1-year period (N = 117). Canonical correlation analysis showed that the impulse to self-harm may be more pronounced among older adults less likely to present as typically depressed. The findings of this study further suggest that impulsivity is more broadly associated with suicide-related ideation than hopelessness, and that screening for impulsivity as well as hopelessness may increase clinicians’ ability to identify older adults at greatest risk for self-harm.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
N
Department: 
Out of date: Gerontology Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Health differentials among elderly women: A rural - urban analysis

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the influence and interrelations of socio-economic, regional and social factors on elderly women's health from a life course perspective, integrating the concept of "social capital." A sample of 8,684 women aged 65+ is drawn from the master files of the 2001 Canadian Community Health Survey. Using logistic regression, analyses indicate elderly rural women are more likely to report having any chronic condition, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, compared to elderly urban women, after controlling for socio-economic status, social capital and lifestyle. However, while community integration (a form of social capital associated with better health) is often stronger in rural communities, no rural advantage for subjective health is observed. Separate analyses of rural and urban sub-samples of elderly women also reveal a number of striking differences in the factors associated with subjective and objective health outcomes. Findings are discussed with regard to implications for policy and future research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Gerontology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Lifestyle acculturation and health among older foreign-born persons

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Gerontology Program) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

A study of age differences in accident rates at intersections in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Gerontology Program) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

An evaluation of crash risk among older drivers with restricted licenses in British Columbia

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Aging is associated with declines that affect driving ability, but loss of a driver’s license has negative impacts on the well-being of older adults. In keeping with Person-Environment Fit Models, restricted licenses are sometimes used to allow continued driving under conditions that do not exceed abilities. This cohort study of older drivers used provincial insurance claims data to compare crashes caused by drivers with restricted versus unrestricted licenses. Restricted drivers were more likely to be male, older, and involved in prior at-fault crashes. Results demonstrated that restricted drivers caused more crashes before restrictions than after the restrictions were applied. Cox survival analysis also revealed that restricted drivers continued to drive crash-free for longer compared to unrestricted drivers, and their risk of causing a crash was 87% that of the unrestricted drivers. These findings have important implications for driver licensing policies, and for the health and well-being of an aging population.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
A
Department: 
Gerontology Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)