Researchers have developed a tool to measure dependent personality levels in older people - enabling mental and home-health care service providers to develop more cost-effective treatment programs.

Published by Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Australian Council of the Ageing, in the March 2007 issue of Australasian Journal of Ageing - the study aims to develop a new tool for measuring dependent personality in older adults to assist in the assessment of people entering health services.

Undertaken in collaboration and with the support of the Silver Chain Nursing Association Inc, researchers thought that home-care services might actually facilitate dependency and further disability instead of assisting in the retention of their independence.

Lead author Dr. Deborah Gardner, from the Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, said, "Observations by Silver Chain staff that some recipients of such services had no actual physical disability but displayed dependent characteristics and reportedly low moods piqued my interest - I wondered if, by providing such services to older people who had dependent personality characteristics (as opposed to dependency due to physical disability) or to those who were perhaps depressed, home-care providers might inadvertently be increasing these older people's risk of developing mobility problems or hastening the decline of their physical abilities."

Working on the accurate hypothesis that older people seeking low-income home-care services would score higher in the interdependency scale, the study found that older men scored higher on the measure of dependent personality characteristics than older women. The study also found that contrary to generalizations of age and interpersonal dependency traits - the increase in participants' ages did not result in their dependent personality characteristics being increased appreciably.

Dr. Gardner added, "The results uncovered in this study will initiate a more thorough assessment of people entering home-and-other healthcare services that aim to promote their non-dependence - enabling the development of more appropriate intervention tools for people with a dependent personality style. This study also serves as a platform from which further interpersonal dependency in older adults can be undertaken."

This paper is published in the March 2007 issue of Australasian Journal on Ageing (Vol. 26, No.1, 40 - 44). Media wishing to receive a PDF or further information should contact Alina Boey, Public Relations Asia at 613-8359 1046.

About Australasian Journal of Ageing

Australasian Journal on Ageing is a peer reviewed journal, which publishes original work in any area of gerontology and geriatric medicine. It welcomes international submissions, particularly from authors in the Asia Pacific region.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany, and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.'s Scientific, Technical, and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell's mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit blackwellpublishing or blackwell-synergy.

This press release can be found online at www.blackwellpublishing/press/pressitem.asp?ref=1103

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