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Gerontology. 2004 Sep-Oct;50(5):291-7.

Off-target verbosity, everyday competence, and subjective well-being.

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Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Montreal, Que., Canada.



Off-target verbosity (OTV), defined as prolific speech that is lacking in focus, is exhibited by relatively few older adults, but increases in prevalence with age.


The hypothesis that a high level of OTV is associated with declining competence in other aspects of everyday life was examined in 142 older adults, previously screened for the level of OTV. Competence was assessed based on self-reported changes since age 50 years in quality and quantity of engagement in eleven domains of instrumental and voluntary activities of everyday life.


Path models indicated that a high level of OTV was associated with a decreased competence in everyday activities and was indirectly linked, through competence, with lower well-being and greater loneliness. With competence level controlled, a high level of OTV directly predicted less loneliness.


These findings support the hypothesis that a high level of OTV is symptomatic of a more general decline in competence and of less successful aging. However, a high level of OTV also entails a strong motivation for talking to others and thus may offer protection against loneliness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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