Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Rachel Piferi

Abstract

People aged 65 and older account for 12.8% of the population and for 30% of all visually impaired individuals. Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) has been identified as a significant public health issue, with a potential 8 million Americans at risk. While the literature supports a connection between LOC and adaptation to ARMD, there is a gap in the current literature supporting this relationship even when other factors are controlled (i.e. age, sex, education, type of ARMD, when diagnosed, the use of medical treatments, the use of visual assistance devices, participant engagement in rehabilitation, and depression). The present survey study used hierarchical regression to examine the relationship between LOC and adjustment to ARMD while controlling for these factors. A sample of 75 adults aged 60 and older diagnosed with ARMD for at least 6 months completed the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale-Form C (MHLC), the Adaptation to Age-Related Vision Loss Scale (AVL) and the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS). LOC accounted for 30% of the variance in adjustment beyond what was explained by the control variables, with higher internal LOC being associated with greater adaptation to loss. The present results add to the existing literature and enhance social change initiatives by guiding the development of interventions to mitigate the difficulties experienced by people with ARMD, reduce their dependency on others, and improve their ability to maintain their quality of life.