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Coping Strategies and Social Participation in Older AdultsDemers L.a, b · Robichaud L.d · Gélinas I.c · Noreau L.d, e · Desrosiers J.f, g
aSchool of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, and bResearch Center of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, and cSchool of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Que., dRehabilitation Department, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, and eRehabilitation Institute of Quebec City, Sainte-Foy, Que., and fResearch Center on Aging, Sherbrooke Geriatric University Institute, and gDepartment of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Que., Canada
Background: Social participation refers to daily activities, such as personal care and mobility, and social roles, such as interpersonal relationships and leisure. Although restrictions in participation in normal aging have been recognized, little research has been done to study the coping strategies used to alleviate those restrictions. Objective: The objective of the present study was to explore the relationships between cognitive and behavioural coping strategies and the social participation of community-dwelling older adults. Methods: The Assessment of Life Habits (LIFE-H) and the Inventory of Coping Strategies Used by the Elderly (ICSUE) were used to document social participation and coping strategies of 350 randomly recruited older adults living at home independently. Sociodemographic and health-related characteristics were also assessed. Regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between social participation, coping strategies and the other variables. Results: Behavioural coping strategies were the most important factor associated with daily activities, social roles and total participation, followed by the type of living environment and age. These variables explained 33% (p = 0.04), 13% (p = 0.02), and 28% (p = 0.00) of the variance of the models, respectively. The absence of any relationship between the cognitive coping strategies and social participation was a striking result. Conclusion: Our study suggests expanding current geriatric approaches to integrate knowledge on useful, safe and appropriate behavioural changes and to help older people acquire such strategies when they are lacking.
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