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J Gerontol. 1988 Jan;43(1):P1-7.

Health care implications of desire and expectancy for control in elderly adults.

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College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Peoria Regional Program.


Two cross-sectional studies explored the relationship between age and individuals' desire for control both on a general day-to-day level and as patients in health care situations. The relationship between age and expectancies for control over health also was examined. In Study 1, questionnaire surveys completed by 246 community adults ranging in age from 19 to 77 indicated that for health-specific measures at older ages, belief in internal control and desire for control are lower, and belief in control by powerful others is higher. In contrast, no significant differences in general desires for control were found across age groups. In Study 2, expectancies and desire for control in relation to the health of 350 patients about to undergo barium enemas, chemotherapy, or surgery were measured. Older adults reported a lower desire for control of their health care and a greater belief in the ability of powerful others to control their health than did younger adults. The replication of these age differences across samples differing in several respects, including education and health status, suggests that this is a highly reliable finding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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