Problems of Institutionalization: The Importance of Freedom of Choice

By Nelida A. Ferrari

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), National Conference of Jewish Communal Service, Spring 1964

In a recent study regarding the attitudes of older adults who were confronting the decision of moving into an institution, a very significant relationship was found between the lack of freedom of choice and the subsequent death of the person. The study is an application of Festinger's theory of Dissonance. This theory comes from the assumption that the individual strives toward internal consistency of cognitions about himself and about the environment. Where inconsistency exists, attempts are made to rationalize them. However, when attempts to achieve consistency fail, there is psychological discomfort. This psychological discomfort is referred to in the theory as "dissonance." The study was done on the basis of a questionnaire presented to seventy-five older adults already accepted as residents of an institution, before and after they moved into the institution. Among other questions, they were asked if the decision to move into the institution was their own, if the alternative of other type of residence was available to them and how many choices they had. Among the seventy-five persons interviewed, seventeen answered that they did not have any other alternative but to move to the institution. This paper presents results related to the post-move behavior of the seventeen persons who went into the institution under conditions of no choice.

Topic: Institutional Care, Elder Care, Death and Mourning, Survey, Aging, Elderly

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Sherman, Sanford N.

Volume/Issue: Vol. 40/No. 3

Page Number(s): 304-306

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Genre: Article

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Ferrari, Nelida A. Problems of Institutionalization: The Importance of Freedom of Choice. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA),National Conference of Jewish Communal Service. Spring 1964: 304-306.


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