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

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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.

The effect of family and work transitions on mid-later life satisfaction domains

Date created: 
2011-12-14
Abstract: 

This study examined the role of work and family transitions on parental, marital, financial, and leisure satisfaction among mid- and older-aged parents of young adult children (aged 17-35). Guided by the life course perspective, this research, employed a mixed-methodological approach, which entails the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative analysis was conducted on a subsample of 391 married participants (mean age of 55) from the Vancouver-based Parenting Project dataset. In-depth qualitative interviews were also conducted with 12 parents to elucidate key quantitative findings. Findings showed that work and family transitions influence different satisfaction domains, but that these associations depend on the family and work contexts (i.e., presence of children, work/retirement status). Results can be used to assist in the development and implementation of workshops to assist families experiencing concurrent family and work transitions.

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

Acculturation as a predictor of depressive symptoms and life satisfaction among older Iranian immigrants in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-05-16
Abstract: 

Limited acculturation of older ethnic immigrants in Canada may adversely impact their psychological well-being. When older adults are equipped with effective means of communication and are familiarized with the services and resources of their host country, they can expand their networks to foster service use and buffer them against isolation. As the existing literature suggests, there could be an association between health behaviour and acculturation. For this thesis, it was hypothesized that less acculturated Iranian-born older adults in Canada experience reduced psychological well-being. Demographic characteristics of this population also may account for variability in both acculturation and indicators of mental health; these were also examined as predictors of psychological well-being thesis. The results of this thesis indicated that acculturation predicts life satisfaction but not depressive symptoms among older Iranian immigrants residing in Metro Vancouver.

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

A comparative study of barriers and motivators to physical activity among East Asian and Caucasian older adults

Date created: 
2011-07-06
Abstract: 

This quantitative, exploratory study investigated potential differences between East Asian and Caucasian older adults in perceived motivators and barriers to attending exercise classes compared to those who do not attend. A total of 169 participants aged 50 and older were recruited into the study. Bivariate analyses showed statistically significant differences between ethnic groups for most barrier, motivator, and other exercise related variables. The barrier most strongly associated with ethnicity is bad weather, with East Asians more likely to report this than Caucasians. The motivator variable most strongly associated with ethnicity is increased muscle strength, which was reported more frequently by Caucasians than East Asians. Multivariate analyses revealed a persistent effect of ethnicity on the frequency of reporting barriers and motivators even after controlling for demographic, physical health, and activity limitation variables. Findings are discussed in terms of activity program recommendations targeting ethnic minority older adults.

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

The impact of therapeutic design on social engagement among residents with dementia during programmed activities in dementia care units.

Date created: 
2010-12-06
Abstract: 

Growing evidence suggests that therapeutic physical and social environments in dementia care units can enhance residents’ quality of life. A therapeutic milieu can be created within smaller units that have a homelike ambience, increased wayfinding, and regulation of sensory stimulation. Organizational philosophies can also reflect a holistic model of care that values personhood, fosters relationship building, and provides meaningful activity programming. While the body of literature on therapeutic design in dementia care has been expanding steadily since the early 1980's, little is known about the design of activity spaces, particularly what environmental features are conducive to successful activity programming and positive resident outcomes. This study explored the nature of residents’ engagement during group activities in two dementia special care environments purposively selected for their contrasting physical environments. Findings shed light upon the complex interactions between physical, organizational, and social environmental factors that shape residents' experiences during group activities.

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

An exploration of the needs and concerns of potential ambient assisted living users within the context of the meaning of home

Date created: 
2010-11-23
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to explore the potential affect that Ambient Assisted Living technologies may have upon users within the context of the meaning of home. A qualitative approach was employed and semi-structured interviews were held with potential users. Findings revealed that an Ambient Assisted Living system would have little affect upon six of the seven meaning of home categories identified in this study. It was found however, that an Ambient Assisted Living system had the potential to affect behavioural freedom within the home space. Additional themes that emerged from this study were concerned with the importance of family, who benefited most from the system and the nature of trade-off in older adults’ decision-making processes. It was concluded that future research should be directed towards developing Ambient Assisted Living systems as part of a broader holistic paradigm designed to assist older adults with aging-in-place.

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

The development and process evaluation of a co-led mutual support group in long-term care facilities

Date created: 
2010-04-06
Abstract: 

This thesis describes the development of a new intervention involving co-led mutual support groups in long-term care facilities (LTCF) and the evaluation of its process, structure and content. Tom Kitwood’s Model of Personhood was used as the basis for developing "The Little Java Music Club", a weekly discussion group using themes chosen by participants and supportive materials, e.g. related music and photographs. A mixed methods qualitative process evaluation was used, utilizing focus groups, systematic observation of six resident groups, individual resident interviews and staff interviews in three LTCF in British Columbia, Canada. A majority of the residents reported positive benefits with themes generated around support, companionship and empowerment. Group observations showed increased active participation during and after the sessions. In their interviews, staff described how the unique program structure fostered sharing on a deeper level and how it empowered residents with moderate to severe cognitive impairment.

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

Assisted living settings in British Columbia : policy goals and gaps

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

In November 2002, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act (the Act) was assented to by the BC legislature. This thesis examines the extent to which current assisted living settings, services, and clients are consistent with the policy goals of the Act. The data are based on findings from a survey of 31 for-profit and non-profit settings, combined with interviews conducted with a subset of eight administrators. The typical resident was a widow in her mid-to-late 80s, with cognitive and/or physical limitations. Given these attributes, the services that can be offered as proclaimed on May 14, 2004, and the lean staffing level, it is concluded that residents in the AL settings in BC may not be able to receive needed care or "age in place," which undermines the policy goals of the Act.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gloria Gutman
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.