Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Research indicates that relocation of an elderly person to a nursing home constitutes a major stress to the individual which can be life threatening. The present study was designed to assess the efficacy of two different treatment approaches in attenuating that stress.

Thirty-six elderly persons being placed in nursing homes for the first time were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Subjects in the Emotional Inoculation (El) Group x;ere seen for three consecutive days in the hospital, prior to entering a nursing home, for purposes of giving them information about the facility and preparing them for some of the stresses they might encounter. Individuals in the Supportive Therapy (ST) Group were seen for three consecutive days during their first x*eek in the nursing home for the purpose of support in working through difficulties they might be experiencing. Subjects assigned to the Control (C) Group received no treatment either previous or subsequent to location in a nursing home.

All subjects were given a battery of tests to assess level of psychological functioning during their first two weeks in the nursing home and again after two months in the home.

The results offered no conclusive evidence regarding the absolute or relative effectiveness of the treatments in modifying the stress incurred by nursing home placement. The only evidence suggesting treatment effectiveness was the two week post placement staff ratings which indicated that the subjects in the ST Group were significantly better adjusted than the C Group subjects.

Additional data suggested that females evidenced more anxiety and depression than males and that those subjects who believed they had a choice in the specific nursing home in which they were placed were less hostile than those who believed they had no choice in facility. Individuals who perceived their stay in the nursing home to be temporary were rated as less hostile than those who believed they would be permanent residents.