Research Abstract

Baca, D. P., George, S. M., & Albertson Owens, S. A. (1999, November). Coping and life satisfaction in younger and older adults. Poster session presented at the meeting of the Gerontological Society of Aging Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Having effective coping mechanisms may be one of the most important predictors of well being across the life span. We examined the relation between four types of coping strategies and life satisfaction in 224 younger adults (18-35 years) and 223 older adults (60-95 years). All participants were healthy community dwelling volunteers who were interviewed about their coping competency, and their use of optimism, humor and spirituality to cope with difficult life events. Participants were queried about health and life satisfaction; and answered questions from the Life Orientation Test, Coping Humor Scale and the Spiritual Well Being Scale. We found no age differences on reports of health, life satisfaction, and the use of optimism, humor and spirituality. Collapsing across age, we found a positive and statistically significant relation between each of the four coping strategies and life satisfaction. Descriptions of these coping strategies are included. These results may be interesting to individuals who are caregivers or who are providing supportive services to older adults.