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Ana I. Sousa, Rui Corredeira and Ana L. Pereira

This study reports on a comparison of how two different groups of people with an amputation view their bodies and perceive how others view them. One group has a history of sport participation, while the other has not. The analysis is based on 14 semistructured interviews with people with amputations: 7 were engaged in sport and 7 were not. The following themes emerged: Body, Prosthesis, Independence, Human Person, and Social Barriers. One could conclude that participation in sport influences how people with an amputation perceive their body as they live with their body in a more positive way and they better accept their new body condition and their being-in-the-world. The social barriers that people with an amputation have to face daily were evident, and one of the most significant ideas was the importance of being recognized and treated as a person and not as a person with a disability.

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Anne O. Brady, Chad R. Straight and Ellen M. Evans

The aging process leads to adverse changes in body composition (increases in fat mass and decreases in skeletal muscle mass), declines in physical function (PF), and ultimately increased risk for disability and loss of independence. Specific components of body composition or muscle capacity (strength and power) may be useful in predicting PF; however, findings have been mixed regarding the most salient predictor of PF. The development of a conceptual model potentially aids in understanding the interrelated factors contributing to PF with the factors of interest being physical activity, body composition, and muscle capacity. This article also highlights sex differences in these domains. Finally, factors known to affect PF, such as sleep, depression, fatigue, and self-efficacy, are discussed. Development of a comprehensive conceptual model is needed to better characterize the most salient factors contributing to PF and to subsequently inform the development of interventions to reduce physical disability in older adults.

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Jane Chung, George Demiris and Hilaire J. Thompson

Mobility is critical in maintaining independence in older adults. This study aims to systematically review the scientific literature to identify measures of mobility limitation for community-dwelling older adults. A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, and psycINFO, using the search terms “mobility limitation”, “mobility disability”, and “mobility difficulty” yielded 1,847 articles from 1990 to 2012; a final selection of 103 articles was used for the present manuscript. Tools to measure mobility were found to be either self-report or performance-based instruments. Commonly measured constructs of mobility included walking, climbing stairs, and lower extremity function. There was heterogeneity in ways of defining and measuring mobility limitation in older adults living in the community. Given the lack of consistency in assessment tools for mobility, a clear understanding and standardization of instruments are required for comparison across studies and for better understanding indicators and outcomes of mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.

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Melissa Daly, Meghan E. Vidt, Joel D. Eggebeen,, W. Greg Simpson, Michael E. Miller, Anthony P. Marsh and Katherine R. Saul

Aging leads to a decline in strength and an associated loss of independence. The authors examined changes in muscle volume, maximum isometric joint moment, functional strength, and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) after resistance training (RT) in the upper extremity of older adults. They evaluated isometric joint moment and muscle volume as predictors of functional strength. Sixteen healthy older adults (average age 75 ± 4.3 yr) were randomized to a 6-wk upper extremity RT program or control group. The RT group increased 1RM significantly (p < .01 for all exercises). Compared with controls, randomization to RT led to greater functional pulling strength (p = .003), isometric shoulder-adduction moment (p = .041), elbow-flexor volume (p = .017), and shoulder-adductor volume (p = .009). Shoulder-muscle volumes and isometric moments were good predictors of functional strength. The authors conclude that shoulder strength is an important factor for performing functional reaching and pulling tasks and a key target for upper extremity RT interventions.

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Therese Brovold, Dawn A. Skelton, Hilde Sylliaas, Morten Mowe and Astrid Bergland

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physical fitness, and physical activity in older patients after recent discharge from hospital. One hundred fifteen independent-living older adults (ages 70–92 years) were included. HRQOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form Health Survey), physical activity (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly), and physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test) were measured 2–4 weeks after discharge. Higher levels of physical activity and physical fitness were correlated with higher self-reported HRQOL. Although cause and effect cannot be determined from this study, the results suggest that a particular focus on the value of physical activity and physical fitness while in hospital and when discharged from hospital may be important to encourage patients to actively preserve independence and HRQOL. It may be especially important to target those with lower levels of physical activity, poorer physical fitness, and multiple comorbidities.

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Kenon A. Brown, Simon Ličen, Andrew C. Billings and Michael B. Devlin

Given Slovenia’s independence in 1991, examining the potential impact of Olympic media consumption on this young nation offers a unique opportunity for scholarly investigation. Prior examinations of Olympic telecasts in Slovenia have uncovered core elements of nationalized pride and focus (Ličen & Billings, 2013a), yet have not fully explored the potential effect of the mass viewership found within the Olympics. This study explores how social cognitive and social identification theories interact to influence consumption behaviors relating to international competition—in this case, the Olympics. For this study, 175 respondents were surveyed to examine the relationship among personal determinants defined by one’s national identity, Olympic fan involvement, and behaviors related to Olympic media consumption. Findings revealed that basic identification with Slovenia as a nation, and a need to defend Slovenia when faced with discouraging opinions, influenced one’s fan involvement with the Olympics, which in turn influenced digital and televisual media consumption.

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Elissa Burton, Kaela Farrier, Gill Lewin, Simone Pettigrew, Anne-Marie Hill, Phil Airey, Liz Bainbridge and Keith D. Hill

Regular participation in resistance training is important for older people to maintain their health and independence, yet participation rates are low. The study aimed to identify motivators and barriers to older people participating in resistance training. A systematic review was conducted including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method studies. Searches generated 15,920 citations from six databases, with 14 studies (n = 1,937 participants) included. In total, 92 motivators and 24 barriers were identified. Motivators specific to participating in resistance training included preventing deterioration (disability), reducing risk of falls, building (toning) muscles, feeling more alert, and better concentration. Looking too muscular and thinking participation increased the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or death, despite the minimal likelihood of these occurring, were barriers. The analysis indicates that increasing participation in resistance training among older people should focus on the specific benefits valued by older people and the dissemination of accurate information to counter misperceptions.

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Stephen Silverman and Melinda Solmon

This paper addresses the appropriate unit of analysis in field research. We first discuss the issues related to this topic: (a) unit of measurement versus unit of analysis, (b) treatments and random assignment, (c) independence of observations, (d) moderating and control variables, and (e) correlational versus experimental research. We then present a model for determining the correct unit of analysis. In many instances, researchers should use class means or subgroup means, and this has implications for research design. In the third section, we discuss the related issues of (a) the burden of proof, (b) asking the right questions and getting the right answers, and (c) completing statistical analyses. How data are analyzed can affect the results, and researchers should consider these issues when planning their research.

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Juliette Stebbings, Ian M. Taylor, Christopher M. Spray and Nikos Ntoumanis

Embedded in the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) framework, we obtained self-report data from 418 paid and voluntary coaches from a variety of sports and competitive levels with the aim of exploring potential antecedents of coaches’ perceived autonomy supportive and controlling behaviors. Controlling for socially desirable responses, structural equation modeling revealed that greater job security and opportunities for professional development, and lower work–life conflict were associated with psychological need satisfaction, which, in turn, was related to an adaptive process of psychological well-being and perceived autonomy support toward athletes. In contrast, higher work–life conflict and fewer opportunities for development were associated with a distinct maladaptive process of thwarted psychological needs, psychological ill-being, and perceived controlling interpersonal behavior. The results highlight how the coaching context may impact upon coaches’ psychological health and their interpersonal behavior toward athletes. Moreover, evidence is provided for the independence of adaptive and maladaptive processes within the self-determination theory paradigm.

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Diane E. Adamo, Susan Ann Talley and Allon Goldberg

Age-related changes in physical abilities, such as strength and flexibility, contribute to functional losses. However, older individuals may be unaware of what specific physical abilities compromise independent functioning. Three groups of women, aged 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80 to 92 years, were administered the Senior Fitness Test (SFT) to determine age differences in physical abilities and risk for functional losses. The oldest group showed significant differences in lower body strength, aerobic endurance, and agility and dynamic balance when compared with the other groups who performed similarly. Across all groups, a faster rate of decline was found for lower body strength (50.6%) and dynamic balance and agility (45.7%) than upper body strength (21.3%) and aerobic endurance (33.6%). Criterion-referenced (CR) fitness standards suggested that 45% of the individuals were at risk for loss of independent functioning. This study highlights age-related differences in physical abilities and the risk for the loss of independence in later life.