Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Gonzalo de Guzman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Donna Rush

Third Advisor's Name

Luz Porter

Date of Defense



The role of group activity participation in depression among a group of residents (N=65), age 80 and older, in a nursing home was examined using the framework of Roy's Adaptation Theory and Nolen-Hoeksema's Response Style Theory of Depression. Roy views depression as a maladaptation. Nolen-Hoeksema views group activity participation as a therapeutic distraction to break depressed moods and thus allow for positive adaptation.

This study utilized data from medical records, group activity attendance, and self-report questionnaires. Demographic distributions were computed and correlational statistics were performed between subjects' participation and their degree of depression, pain experience, functional status, presence of social support, and perception of benefits. Results show a negative correlation between frequency of participation and Geriatric Depression Scale score (GDS). The wide range of measured frequencies among low GDS-scored subjects suggests that less depressed individuals exercise more freedom of choice to participate than those who are more depressed. Significant finding show a positive correlation of group activity participation with functional status in terms of ambulation. Data shows that the experience of pain was not a significant deterrent to participation. The presence of social support from the staff and family did not increase participation. However there is a lesser GDS score among subjects who had recent family/friends visit suggesting a positive role of family in decreasing depression.

These results are significant not only for optimizing group therapeutic effects but also for understanding basic human and environmental correlates of depression. Study limitations are pointed out and recommendations are presented.





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