Predictors of the adaptive problem-solving of older persons in their homes

Y.A.W. Kort, de, C.J.H. Midden, A.F.G.M. Wagenberg, van

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As people get older, their independence may be hindered by problems that confront them in the home. To extend their independent functioning, environmental press on older individuals should be diminished but, at the same time, their ability to solve these problems themselves (proactivity) should be enhanced. The purpose of the present study was to identify the most important factors that influence proactivity. For this reason, a theoretical exploratory model was constructed that consisted of four types of factors that influence the adaptive problem-solving of the older individual and the adaptive strategies that result from this process. These factors were: (1) problem type; (2) personal factors of competence such as health, education, and knowledge; (3) factors describing the social network; and (4) factors describing the physical environment. Adaptive strategies were categorized to be physical/technical, social, personal or mental. Subsequently, the most significant factors in this model were identified, using the data of a survey among 120 elderly households. Results of the survey show that the adaptive strategy a person chooses is not only dependent on the type of problem, but also on personal qualities and physical housing. Also, the type of adaptive strategy chosen was a predictor of the perceived effectiveness of and satisfaction with the solution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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