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Environmental mastery and depression in older adults in residential care
journal contributionposted on 01.07.2011, 00:00 authored by Therese Knight, Tanya Davison, M McCabe, David MellorDavid Mellor
This study investigated the association between environmental mastery and depression in a sample of 96 older adults (aged 64–98 years) in residential care. The participants completed a scale that assessed depression along with measures for risk factors for depression such as functional capacity, self-evaluated physical health, bereavement experiences and environmental mastery. The results showed that 49 per cent of the variance in participants’ scores in depression could be attributed to their self-reported level of environmental mastery. Given the complexity of depression and the likelihood of reduced environmental mastery among older adults in residential care, the construct was further assessed as a mediating variable between the risk factors and depression. With environmental mastery taken as such, the explained variance in depression increased to 56 per cent. It was concluded that environmental mastery may be one of the more important factors affecting the mental health of older adults living in residential care and that strategies for increasing the residents’ environmental mastery are important to their psychological wellbeing. The discussion notes that among the questions needing further investigation are whether older adults who experience high environmental mastery make the transition from community living to residential nursing home care more successfully than others, and whether perceived mastery diminishes over time or occurs at the point of transition from community independent living to dependent supported living.