Perceptions of Overprotection in III Adults1


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    The authors wish to thank the County of Orange, Area Agency on Aging, for their generous assistance with the collection of data.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Suzanne C. Thompson, Department of Psychology, Pomona College, Claremont, CA 91711.


Several studies have suggested that chronically ill adults who receive overprotective care are more depressed and less motivated in rehabilitation therapy. However, for this area of research to proceed, a standard definition and measurement of perceptions of overprotection are needed. In the present study, long and short forms of a scale (the OPSA) to assess perceptions of being overprotected in chronically ill adults were developed. The scale's psychometric properties were tested with a sample of 161 community-dwelling older adults. It was found to have good internal reliability, to correlate highly with an established retrospective measure of overprotection in adults, and to be distinct from ratings of quantity and quality of social support. As expected, overprotection was associated with poorer adjustment: Respondents who felt overprotected were more depressed.