Attitudes towards physical activity in older adults : an examination of cognitive impairment status, caregiver status, and occupational therapy awareness

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Rebilas, Haylie M.
Perkins, David V.
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Thesis (B.?)
Honors College
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As the older adult population continues to grow, it is important for occupational therapists to have up-to-date research on their potential patients. Although occupational therapy is important to the recovery of many adults with cognitive impairment, there is little research focused on mental health concerns of aging adults. Physical and cognitive benefits of daily physical activity in older populations have been researched, but few studies have examined attitudes towards physical activity in relation to common variables associated with older persons. The current study used an established questionnaire measuring attitudes towards physical activity, along with additional survey items created. It was predicted that having any experience with cognitive impairment will be positively related to awareness of occupational therapy and to the presence of a caregiver, and negatively related to attitudes toward physical activity, and that presence of a caregiver will be positively correlated with prospects for recovery from stroke. Results indicated no association between cognitive impairment experience and occupational therapy awareness, an association between experience with cognitive impairment and the presence of a caregiver, differences between having a friend or family member with cognitive impairment and participants' attitudes towards physical activity, a positive relationship between the presence of a caregiver and participant prospects for stroke recovery. While this study did partially support the hypotheses, additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of how occupational therapists can better motivate their elderly patients.