Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Education

Degree Name


Counseling and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Smothers


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a structured group experience (focusing on cognitive reprogramming) on the life satisfaction and subsequent adjustment of functional elderly persons residing in a nursing home. The study was designed to change the negative attitudes of participants towards themselves as elderly and to facilitate their adjustment to institutionalization. We are living in an aging society where increasing numbers of elderly people will spend their final years in a nursing home. The results of this study should be of significance to personnel employed in nursing homes, i.e., social workers, counselors, nurses, geriatricians, and others, who must assist new residents in making a successful adjustment.

The study population consisted of twenty persons institutionalized for one year or less, who were at least sixty-five years of age, and physically able/willing to participate. Participants were assigned randomly to the experimental or the control group. The degree of change between pre and post-testing was measured on the Salamon-Conte Life Satisfaction In the Elderly Scale. The groups were homogeneous. The experiment was conducted for 1.5 hours biweekly for four consecutive weeks. A statistically significant difference was found between the mean scores of the two groups only in the life satisfaction variable. This difference led to the conclusion that the structured group experience was effective in improving life satisfaction among members of the experimental group.

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