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Leibold, Mary Louise (2010) ACTIVITIES AND ADAPTIVE STRATEGIES IN LATE LIFE DEPRESSION: A QUALITATIVE STUDY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study sought to understand activity choices of older adults when they were depressed and in the early stages of recovery. Qualitative analysis was used to identify themes of activities continued, stopped, resumed, and newly begun. Participants (n=27) were recruited from a randomized clinical trial (R37 MH43832) and were community dwelling, predominantly female, with a mean age of 73.3 years. One interview was conducted with each participant in recovery for at least 3 but no longer than 7 months, using a semi-structured interview. When depressed, participants continued some activities and stopped others. Activities were continued when they were part of an established habit or commitment, gratifying, a means of distraction or escape, and/or an attempt to hide depression from others. Participants continued activities when they were nudged by another person and/or felt a sense of pushing oneself to maintain normalcy. Participants stopped some activities when they were no longer meaningful and/ or were too physically painful to complete. Some activities were stopped when participants had insufficient physical/cognitive energy or did not wish to expend their limited reserve, avoided negativity, and/or constricted their social space.In recovery, the majority of activities in which participants engaged when they were depressed were continued spontaneously. Some, however, were stopped when no longer meaningful or necessary, and/or when participants' activity level increased substantially, limiting available time. Participants resumed most activities when activities were again meaningful, physical and/or cognitive energy returned, pain complaints diminished, health promotion was desired, and/or when participants were able to confront negative situations, and/or enlarge their social space. Some activities, however, were not resumed when participants actively weighed activity options and chose to divert time and energy to higher priorities. Some participants engaged in new activities not done prior to or during depression when positive self-change opened up opportunities for engagement or participants undertook efforts to reorganize their lives.In conclusion, adaptive strategies were brought into play at various time points as participants selected activities to continue, stop, resume, and newly begin as they strove to survive the depressive episode and, then, re-enter and participate in their former lives in recovery.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Leibold, Mary Louisemleibold@pitt.eduMLEIBOLD
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRogers, Joan Cjcr@pitt.eduJCR
Committee MemberReynolds, Charles FReynoldsCF@upmc.eduCHIPR
Committee MemberSkidmore, Elizabeth Rskidmore@pitt.eduSKIDMORE
Committee MemberRaina, Ketki Dkraina@pitt.eduKRAINA
Committee MemberHolm, Margo Bmbholm@pitt.eduMBHOLM
Date: 20 May 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 30 March 2010
Approval Date: 20 May 2010
Submission Date: 21 April 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: activities; Depression; late life; older adults; participation; qualitative
Other ID:, etd-04212010-102029
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:40
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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