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

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Exploring physical pain and injuries in informal caregivers to older adults

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Previous studies document positive and negative effects of informal caregiving on the caregiver’s physical and mental health. Although injuries are highly prevalent in professional home care workers, they have not been fully examined in informal caregivers. This study has explored physical pain and injuries in informal caregivers to frail older adults using the grounded theory approach and symbolic interactionism theoretical background. In-depth interviews have been conducted with twenty primary caregivers. Injuries in study participants included muscle and back strains, falls, sprained ankles, twisted knees, a broken wrist, a dislocated shoulder, and burns and bruises. Female spousal caregivers were especially vulnerable to physical pain and injury. A substantive theory was developed, relating to the social process of “attenuating the caregiver’s well-being while accentuating the care recipient’s well-being in the course of informal care provision.” This will provide a useful conceptual framework for future studies and caregiver interventions.

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

Personality and cognitive adaptation: the absence of neuroticism and its effects on the well-being of widowed women over time

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Widows scoring lower on the trait of neuroticism (N; i.e., negative emotional reactivity) tend to score higher on measures of well-being than high-N widows. This study examined if low-N widows employ adaptive cognitive processes (e.g., positive information processing biases) to mediate the association between personality and well-being. Reports of widowed women's perceptions of their marriage, measured in 2002/2003 by the Marital Aggrandizement Scale (MAS; O'Rourke & Cappeliez, 2002), were compared to their perceptions of their marriage at that time, as recalled three years later, as well as at present (N = 47). It was predicted that low-N widows would have higher MAS responses than high-N widows, and that this difference would increase over time. There was no interaction between neuroticism and time on MAS scores. Scores of high- and low-N widows on measures of psychiatric distress and life satisfaction were different at baseline and demonstrated lesser disparity at Time 2.

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

Fear of crime and design: Exploring the linkages in a seniors' housing complex

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This project explores the influence of environmental factors on older adults' fear of crime. Based on the crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) model, four environmental domains were examined: natural access control, natural surveillance, territoriality and maintenance. These are linked to fear of crime using person-environment theory. The data used in this study was based on a questionnaire comprised of structured questions provided to a sample (n=102) of older residents living in an age-heterogeneous housing complex in Vancouver, British Columbia. Respondents evaluated environmental features linked to the CPTED model and reported on self-perceptions of crime and their surrounding neighbourhood. Findings suggest that fear of crime is significantly correlated with gender and social disorder variables. It is concluded that, in terms of fear of crime, neighbourhood context variables have limited explanatory power based on this pilot project, but further research is necessary to establish more definitive results.

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

Organizational and physical environmental correlates of bathing-related agitation in dementia special care units

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Both the organizational and physical environments of long-term care facilities are believed to influence agitation levels among cognitively impaired residents. This thesis explores the relationship between selected organizational and physical characteristics of the facility bathing environment and bathing-related agitation. Findings are based on survey data obtained from 47 of the 90 Special Care Units in British Columbia. Of the 1,565 baths conducted during the study period, 46.8% involved some form of agitation. While the provision of initial and additional staff training reduced the likelihood of bathing-related agitation, the presence of a bathing policy and a dedicated bath team actually increased the likelihood of bathing-related agitation. Of the physical environmental features, only the provision of privacy was found to reduce the likelihood of bathing-related agitation. In order to enhance the quality of the bathing experience for residents, facilities are encouraged to direct their resources to improving the organizational bathing environment.

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

Beers criteria-based review of medication appropriateness in British Columbia seniors living in residential care

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

A study was conducted to explore the prevalence and predictors of inappropriate prescribing, as defined by the 2002 Beers criteria, in a sample of nursing home residents in British Columbia, Canada (n=,449). Medication-related data were extracted from residents' medication review letters. The overall prevalence of inappropriate prescribing was 29.4 percent. The prevalence rates for the three sub-types of inappropriate prescribing, namely unconditionally inappropriate prescribing, inappropriate drugdisease combinations, and inappropriate doses or durations, were 16.9, 12.4, and 5.1 percent, respectively. The likelihood of inappropriate prescribing was increased with the total number of prescription medications and the number of prescribing physicians. The single most commonly prescribed inappropriate medication was anticholinergics, for residents with cognitive impairment. Clinicians need to be extra vigilant to distinguish between the central nervous system effects of anticholinergic medications and the effects of the underlying disease.

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

Examining key factors and influential actors involved in the decision to relocate into assisted living: A sample funding proposal

Date created: 
2013-01-14
Abstract: 

This capstone project presents a conceptually grounded, methodologically appropriate and logistically feasible Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funding proposal. By examining key factors and influential actors involved in the decision to relocate into an assisted living facility (ALF), the proposed study will provide insight into and a rich description of the decision making process as it unfolds. Presented in the format of a CIHR pilot study grant, the proposal details a qualitative research plan utilizing pre-move observations and post-move interviews to examine relocation into two public and two private ALFs in Vancouver. A project budget and justification is included along with materials related to the research protocol (informed consent forms, observation guide, interview questions, research timeline, etc). To provide context, preceding the CIHR proposal is a chapter with an extended literature review focused on later life relocation and a chapter on methodology highlighting the salient points of the different methods selected for this study.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Atiya Mahmood
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Development and initial validation of the Gay Men's Physical Attractiveness Scale

Date created: 
2012-12-12
Abstract: 

Young and older gay men from 40 countries rated the importance of 258 body features in judging the physical attractiveness of other men (N = 3,600). Exploratory factor analyses using two separate, independent samples suggested four factors underlying male same-sex physical attractiveness: Facial Attractiveness; Muscularity/Body Shape; Body Fat/Overall Appearance; and Intimate Regions. Twenty items representing the four dimensions were selected. Confirmatory factor analytic models using two other separate, independent samples supported the viability of a hierarchical structure with four first-order attractiveness factors mapping onto a higher-order Attractiveness construct. Responses to the scale exhibited strong internal consistency and test-retest reliability (r = .73 over an average period of 16 weeks). In addition, the hierarchical structure of responses appears to be time- and age-invariant. Results are discussed in the context of evolutionary theory.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Norm O'Rourke
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Predictors of enjoyment in older and middle-aged adults engaged in episodic volunteer work

Date created: 
2012-11-08
Abstract: 

Background: As the baby boomer generation begins to exit the full-time workforce, the pool of older volunteers is expected to increase dramatically. There are also recent trends in research and practice towards episodic volunteering. Purpose: This study’s purpose is to determine factors associated with enjoyment in older and middle-aged episodic volunteers and to provide insight into their perceptions of this work. Methods: A mixed methods approach was used. Questionnaire data from the 2010 Olympics Older Volunteers Project was examined using quantitative analyses (n=255). Follow-up telephone interviews were subsequently administered with a sub-sample of participants (n=10). Results: For both age groups, perceived skill utilization predicted enjoyment, whereas individual factors had no effects. Qualitative interviews revealed how volunteering may be viewed as a generative act, and how episodic volunteerism can be connected to identity as one ages. Results provide information to organizations benefiting from the involvement of older and middle-aged episodic volunteers.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Wister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Age differences in volunteering experiences: an examination of generativity and meaning in life

Date created: 
2012-08-20
Abstract: 

The purpose of this thesis is to examine differences in volunteering experiences between middle-aged and older aged persons participating in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Erik Erikson’s (1959/1994) concept of generativity is applied in order to test hypotheses pertaining to age-related associations between a pre-existing community volunteer role and meaning, self-esteem and meaning as well as sense of belonging and meaning. Data were utilized from the Older Olympic Volunteer Project which contained a dataset on aspects of volunteering experiences before and after an intensive and episodic volunteering event among 282 middle-aged and older adults. It was found that the association between a pre-existing community volunteer role and meaning in life was significant only for older adults, the association between self-esteem and meaning in life was discovered to be stronger for middle age adults, whereas the association between sense of belonging and meaning in life was found to be more robust among older adults. The results are discussed with respect to the concept of generativity and meaning in life.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Wister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring the role of social capital on quality of life among South Asian Shia Muslim immigrant older adults in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-04-11
Abstract: 

The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the role that social capital has had on the quality of life reported by South Asian Shia Muslim immigrants from East Africa. Social Capital is based on two phenomena: social support networks and involvement in traditional culture. Eight members of this community were chosen and in depth interviews were used. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and common patterns were deduced. Codes were thencreated, and like codes were categorized into themes. The data analysis revealed five main themes, each containing two codes: (1) Community Bonding; (2) Support for Settlement; (3) Centrality of Faith; (4) Community Engagement and (5) Faith for Health. These themes identify the factors for quality of life among members of this South Asian Shia Muslim community in Vancouver. The results are beneficial for understanding the needs of ethnic immigrant communities and providing an environment conducive to successful aging post immigration.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Habib Chaudhury
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.