- Created by: Abigail Boitz
- Created on: 06-04-14 14:35
Langer and Rodin (1976) – The Effects of Choice and Enhanced Personal Responsibility for the Aged
Control refers to the extent to which an individual feels able to direct or regulate his or own behaviour. An individual may feel controlled by other forces (internal bodily processes or external agents), or may feel in control. Perceived control may be more important than actual control.
Control and Age
Some of the physical changes that occur with ageing may not be biologically determined. Instead, they may be due to a loss of perceived control. As a person becomes older, they experience loss of roles, perceived competence and decreased sense of responsibility. An increased sense of purpose leads to decreased morality.
Langer et al.
Hospital patients who felt a greater sense of control requested fewer pain relievers and were judged by nurses to show less anxiety. This suggests that more perceived control is associated with more positive health outcomes.
Seligman linked a lack of control to depression. Dogs that had learned that there was no escape from painful electric shocks showed signs of apathy similar to depression. Even when the dogs were given the option to escape the shocks, they did not.
Seligman called this behaviour learned helplessness, to describe when a person persistently feels unable to control events in their life which leads to permanent feelings of helplessness and eventually depression.
Stotland and Blumenthal
Researchers told students that they were going to take a number of important ability tests. Half the participants were allowed to choose the order in which they wanted to take the tests whereas the other half were told that the order was predetermined. The participants who had a choice over their test order were found to be less anxious. This was probably because they had control and so were less anxious.
Langer and Rodin aimed to investigate the effects enhanced personal responsibility and choice in a group of nursing home patients.
They specifically wanted to see whether increased control had generalised beneficial effects, and whether physical and mental alertness, activity levels, sociability and general satisfaction were affected.
They also wanted to see whether the direct experience of personal responsibility would be generalised so the residents who had greater control in specific situations generalised this to other aspects of their lives.
The Control Group consisted of nine men and thirty five women, who all lived on the second floor of the nursing home. They were aged between 65 and 90 years.
The Experimental Group consisted of eight men and thirty nine women, who all lived on the fourth floor of the nursing home. They were aged between 65 and 90 years.
The study was carried out in a large, modern nursing home in Connecticut, in the US. The home had four floors, two of which were used for the experiment. Residents were already living on these…