Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Edward Helmes


Elderly people who remain mentally and physically active are more likely to be happy than those who do not (George, 1980; Toscland & Sykes, I 977). Demographic factors have usually accounted for only a small amount of the variance in well-being (Diener, 1984 ). Internal control, personal growth and direction in life might have more to do with well-being than demographic or personality factors (Ryff, 1995). This study examined the theoretical relationship between locus of control and self-directed learning readiness in the elderly and the predictability of self reported well-being from an internal locus of control and a self-directed learning measure (controlling for physical activity levels, satisfaction with financial situation, and prior education). Participants were 117 people over the age of 60 years. They were drawn from retirement villages, hostels, clubs and University of the Third Age campuses in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. Correlation coefficients indicated weak, positive, significant correlations between all the measures of locus of control and the measure of self-directed learning readiness. A factor analysis found two different facets of well-being: the sources of each being two different well-being scales. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses determined that self-directed learning readiness was a better predictor of both these facets of well-being than internal locus of control. Studies to determine cause and effect were recommended. The promotion of self-directed learning projects might be a useful strategy for health professionals, adult educators and others to use in assisting elderly people to develop internal control beliefs and maintain their sense of well-being while adapting to the many changes occurring in their lives. The development of skills and values associated with self-directed learning for children might also be a goal of child educators so that life-long learning is a viable option.

Included in

Geriatrics Commons