Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Magy Martin

Abstract

Older adults of Mexican origin are often underserved, especially those residing in nursing homes. Their number has increased in the past 4 years. There is a gap in the research literature on Hispanic elders, specifically those of Mexican origin, residing in nursing homes along the Texasâ??Mexico border. Because Texas has one of the fastest growing populations of Mexican elders, it is important to better understand this population. This nonexperimental study evaluated the relationship among risk factorsâ??such as gender, marital status, family support, activities of daily living (ADLs)â??and participation in nursing home activities. These relationships were evaluated with a demographic questionnaire, the Geriatric Depression Scale, and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. The sample consisted of 150 individuals of Mexican origin, 55 years of age or older, residing in nursing homes in a Texasâ??Mexico border city. Two multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between these variables. The results indicated that the risk factors account for 9.1% of the variance in depression and 11.7% of the variance in anxiety. Of the predictor variables, activities of daily living made the only significant contribution. Thus, a high score on activities of daily living (i.e., needs complete assistance) predicted higher depression and anxiety, while female gender predicted higher anxiety, and frequent family support predicted low anxiety. This new knowledge gain through this study has implications for positive social change: (a) nursing home staff and physicians can do a better job in referring residents for psychological services, (b) mental health professionals can help nursing home staff better serve this population, and (c) nursing home staff may hold more family events to increase family involvement with their loved ones.

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