Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Barry Edelstein.


Assisted living has become the fastest growing senior housing alternative for older adults, yet little research has been conducted with residents of assisted living. Relocation involves a major life change and is associated with health problems, poor adjustment, and increased mortality. Research on relocation into nursing homes suggests declines in health and psychological well-being frequently follow relocation and are greatest one to two months following entry into the facility. Control over the decision to relocate and control within the facility following relocation have been related to physical and mental health. Assisted living residents are similar to nursing home residents so similar patterns of adjustment, though potentially less severe, are likely to be seen in assisted living residents. The current study compares 18 residents of assisted living with 19 community dwelling older adults at three times on various aspects of adjustment, including physical and functional health, depression, life satisfaction, affect, and anxiety over a three month period following relocation in the assisted living group. Assisted living residents did not show the expected decline over the first several months following relocation, perhaps due to health stabilization. However, residents of assisted living did report lower life satisfaction and exhibited greater disparity between actual and desired control than community residents. Moreover, both the community dwelling older adults and residents of assisted living were clinically distressed on measures of depression and anxiety. The groups did not differ on the amount of change in health and psychological well being experienced over time, demonstrating similar rates of decline over time. Decisional control was negatively related to depression and positively related to physical and functional health. In addition, actual environmental control was positively related to physical and functional health and life satisfaction and negatively related to depression, negative affect, and anxiety. Health has been related to depression and life satisfaction, and the significant correlations between health and the adjustment variables suggests that health played a role in the current study. Overall, the study demonstrated the importance of control, social support, and health of adjustment to relocation into assisted living facilities. Limitations and future directions are included.