Older Persons' Reasoning About Responsibility for Health: Variations and Predictions
Ross, Sara Nora
International journal of aging & human development 2011; 73(2): 99-124
With many Western societies structured for adults to live longer and take responsibility for their health, it is valuable to investigate how older persons reason about this demand. Using mixed methods, this pilot studied how older persons reason about responsibility for health and their responsibility as a patient. Interviews with a small Swedish sample of 65-84 year olds were analyzed for qualitative characteristics and quantitative complexity in reasoning. Using adult development theory, we predicted at least three different stages of performance in reasoning. Results indicated four different stages: two where there is no actual reasoning about health and responsibility, and two where reasoning does occur, each qualitatively different. Results suggest a long-standing blind spot in health studies, that older people do not comprehend responsibility issues in the same way. There are significant implications for closing this gap between demand to take responsibility and capabilities to do so.
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