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Abstract

Although concerned professionals such as Kutner (1956), Cumming (1961), and Lawton (1972), have made strong beginnings in researching the psychological functioning of the elderly, only a few have explored the social and medical conditions of the aged, and especially their use of social welfare services, as these relate to a sense of well-being. Streib (1956) and Maddox (1968) were among the first to relate life-long patterning of social activity to later social activity and life satisfaction. Carp (1966), in a controlled study of housing, reported that housing did not affect the morale of low and middle income elderly. Lawton and Cohen (1974) looked at the reactions of an aged sample to new housing and found that there was only a modest effect on well-being. Adams (1971), in a literature review of correlates of life satisfaction among the elderly, highlighted the regularity with which health as a conditioning variable relates to overall leisure activities. Wolk and Telleen (1976) examined the social and psychological constraints of residence as these affect morale. Cutler (1976) reported that belonging to church-affiliated groups strengthened psychological well-being. Caslin and Calvert (1975) indicated that ethnicity (including race) has an important affect on use of services. Medley (1976) found that the degree of satisfaction with family was indicative of morale.

Nevertheless, there is a dearth of studies based upon face-to-face interview derived self-reports from the aged about the social-environmental conditions of their lives and particularly about their utilization of the social services as these relate to morale. The writers believe that such studies can assist helping professions in assessing present social resourcevtse and may offer a sound base for planning social welfare service programs.

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