Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

MacCluskie, Kathie

Subject Headings

Altruism -- Social aspects -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Nursing home patients -- Social aspects -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Long-term care facilities -- Social aspects -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Older people -- Long-term care -- Social aspects -- Ohio -- Cleveland, altruism, intergenerational altruism, happiness, nursing home residents, long-term care


Since the passing of the Older Americans Act in 1965 and the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987, research has shown that engagement in both social and altruistic activities may be successful interventions for maintaining and improving the well-being of nursing home residents. Research is needed, however, to compare these two types of engagement. The goal of the current study, therefore, is to address this need by answering the following questions: (1) Does engagement in altruistic activities predict change in happiness for older adult nursing home residents? Furthermore, what other factors predict changes in happiness in this population? (2) Compared to the social engagement of traditional recreational activities (i.e., standard unit activities), do altruistic activities, specifically intergenerational altruistic activities, foster more active engagement? Seventy-two older adult nursing home residents participated in this study. Results indicated that engagement in intergenerational altruistic activities did, in fact, predict change in happiness for the individuals who were involved in this project. Furthermore, participants' reported frequency of attendance at regularly scheduled activities, as well as the race/ethnicity with which they identified were both additional predictors of changes in happiness. Secondly, participants spent more time actively engaged in the intergenerational altruistic/treatment activities than they did in the regularly scheduled/baseline activities. These findings suggest that altruistic activities, specifically those that are intergenerational in nature, are a viable option for activities programming at long-term care facilities in the U.S

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