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Title:Distress or eustress – understanding the role of self-regulation in the context of leisure among older adults with chronic conditions
Author(s):An, Jaesung
Advisor(s):Payne, Laura L.
Department / Program:Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline:Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Older Adults
Chronic Conditions
Healthy Aging
Selective, Optimization with Compensation strategy
Abstract:As the number of older adults around the world is expected to almost double its number by 2040 and with longer life expectancy, older adults' healthy aging process has become essential part of individual's life (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2010). More than 90 percent of older adults in the United States have at least one chronic condition, and this overwhelming reality can lead to serious stress problems, in fact, chronic condition is one of the biggest stressors among older adults (Miller, Chen & Parker, 2011). Although past research has examined a variety of important constructs related to the healthy aging process such as leisure and self-regulation, the role of eustress (i.e., good stress) has not been thoroughly examined. Further research on eustress and its relationship with adopting self-regulation strategies via selective optimization with compensation (SOC) in a leisure context will offer important insights into the complex phenomena of older adults' healthy aging process. Using grounded theory as the qualitative framework, 11 semi-structured interviews were conducted to better understand the role of eustress and SOC among older adults with chronic conditions. Five males and six females participated in the interviews and they either lived in their own home, in a retirement community or in assistant living. Older adults in this study experienced changes in their leisure behaviors mainly due to physical limitations (e.g., chronic conditions) and lack of resources (e.g., not being able to drive, lack of leisure programs), however they were still engaging in meaningful leisure activities which allows older adults to experience cognitive, psychological, and social benefits. Participants experienced healthy aging process with the help of self-regulation (SOC) strategy, leisure and eustress. Avoiding boredom, keeping mind and brain active, meaningful social connection, sense of purpose and satisfaction and enjoyment were important characteristics of healthy aging process defined by the older adults. These emerged themes were essential to their healthy aging process which were primarily attained from active leisure participation. Eustress was important among older adults in that it that helps them to overcome challenges and difficulties they face in the aging process. Older adults' participation in leisure activities and use of self-regulation strategy helped them to experience leisure oriented eustress, which is a positive psychological reaction to stressors in the context of leisure. As an outcome, they reported they experienced increase in sense of control, perseverance, positive attitude and feelings of satisfaction. These four emerged themes also encouraged older adults to experience a stronger form of eustress in the context of their daily lives.
Issue Date:2016-07-21
Rights Information:© 2016 Jaesung An
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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