ERIC Number: ED301817
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Family Relations and the Self-Esteem of Older Persons.
Lee, Gary R.; Shehan, Constance L.
The general impression conveyed by the literature in the social psychology of aging is that various dimensions of the self, including self-esteem, are relatively fixed and stable by the later stages of the life cycle. Existing research implies that the self-esteem of older persons is higher than that of younger persons, and also more stable or resistant to external influences. This study examined the influence of social, familial, and eonomic factors on the self-esteem of older persons. Subjects (N=4,122) were adults age 55 and over who agreed to receive mailed questionnaires when contacted randomly by telephone. Self-esteem, marital satisfaction, relationship with neighbors, education, health, family income, and employment were assessed. Results showed that the self-esteem of older persons was positively affected by education, income (for males), health, and frequency of interaction with friends. Marital satisfaction had a positive effect on self-esteem second in magnitude only to the effect of health; for males, the effect of marital satisfaction was stronger for the retired than for the employed. No other family related variables had significant effects on self-esteem except that never-married women had slightly lower self-esteem than others. Results suggest that self-esteem is still responsive to some social factors among older persons, and therefore should not be ignored in research or theory on the psychological well-being of the elderly. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations (50th, Philadelphia, PA, November 12-16, 1988).