Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Joanne Wright

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Ford

Third Advisor

Shirley Lukens

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The focus of this study was to investigate the relationships among locus of control, activity level, and living situation in the elderly. The participants in this study consisted of 62 elderly individuals who resided in one of three living situations: (1) independent living, (2) assisted living, and (3) comprehensive care centers. All participants were screened for cognitive status using the Mini-Mental State Assessment (Folstein, M., Folstein, S., & McHugh, 1975). Individuals who scored in the normal range then completed a Locus of Control Scale (Rotter, 1966) and the Index of Occupational Behavior (Gregory, 1983) to address the meaningfulness of, and frequency of participation in, activities. Demographic information, such as age and length of stay in the current living situation, was also collected from each participant.

Individuals who resided in independent living were found to possess a more internal locus of control and to engage in more occupational behavior than individuals in assisted living and in comprehensive care. Possible explanations for these findings and the importance of these relationships for the field of occupational therapy were discussed.