Date of Conferral







Benita Stiles-Smith


Older people are frequently faced with physical conditions that require treatment. A better understanding of the components of engagement relating to the outcomes of treatment was the focus of the study. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine whether there was an association between the independent variables of optimism, pessimism, motivation, and self-determination and their impact on the dependent variable of achieving physical activity goals in 86 geriatric patients, ages 65 to 80 receiving physical therapy services. The theoretical framework of self-determination, motivation, optimism, and pessimism was assessed by using two self-report questionnaires, The Self-Determination Scale and The Revised Life Orientation Test, along with reviewing physical therapy evaluations, progress notes, and discharge summaries. It was found through the use of a multiple regression analysis that no significant difference in modified independence existed between those with low versus high optimism, pessimism, self-determination, and motivation; there was also no significant difference in the number of physical therapy goals achieved upon discharge. The findings of this study warrant further research on the connection between cognitive and physical abilities and the decline of health due to the aging process. The implication of social change is the need for continued research for clarification of what has been provided through previous research that high levels of optimism, self-determination, and motivation explain a positive outcome in the treatment, rehabilitation process, and achievement of goals versus the contradictory results demonstrated in this research study.