The purpose of this study is to gather data for development of a place attachment scale that will be useful for clinical and community studies.
Specific aims are: (1) to explore attachment to place in a race- and gender- diverse sample of elders, using narrative methods; (2) to develop multi-dimensional, quantitative questionnaire items to measure place attachment; (3) to pilot-test items in community samples of elders; and (4) to examine the relationship of attachment to place with health and residential history. With the rising tide of aging Baby Boomers, it is urgent to identify residential factors that place elders at risk of poor health and to avoid conditions that destabilize elderly households. Place attachment plays an unspecified role in elders' decision-making about living arrangements. Stable bonds to a place enhance self-image and competence in late life, but are disrupted by community-based relocations and by institutionalization. An instrument to measure place attachment is currently unavailable and urgently needed. This feasibility study will complete the first two phases of instrument development. Item development will be based on interviews with subjects (n=30) from the Duke University Aging Center Registry, focusing on changes u) in living arrangements across the life span; precipitating events; earliest residential memory; affect associated with residences; privacy and cost; social milieu; regrets about living arrangements; and expectations and preferences about future living arrangements. Transcribed interviews will be analyzed using constant comparisons to identify common themes and develop items for an attachment-to-place scale. Pilot testing will be based on three additional samples from the Aging Center Registry, to test the efficiency and reliability of multiple test methods: telephone (n=20), 3 mail (n=20), and in-person (n=20) assessment. Measures will include the items developed in Phase 1 and psychosocial, health, and demographic measures. Analyses will include descriptive statistics and associations of place attachment to psychosocial and health measures. This study is part of a research program designed to explain the health implications of late life community- and institution-base residence. It lays a foundation for improved nursing assessment of patients? bonds to the environment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNR1)
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Duke University
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