Depression and issues of control among elderly people in health care settings


Professor Lynda Slimmer, Deicke Center for Nursing Education, Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296, USA


This descriptive study investigated the relationship between both demographic characteristics and type of health care setting and elderly people's attributions for control, functional status, mood, type of helplessness, and perception of self-efficacy Results of the study demonstrate that elderly people in long-term care settings are more vulnerable to experiencing learned helplessness and depression than elderly people in acute or rehabilitation settings The findings indicate that the critical penod for the development of learned helplessness and depression is for subjects with a length of stay of 7 weeks to 6 months The study supports other research which concludes that depression in elderly people is better explained by the original learned helplessness theory rather than being related to attributions about the cause of loss of control