Field dependence in the institutionalized elderly

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The institutional-inducement hypothesis of field dependence regression in the elderly was assessed by administering the Children’s Embedded Figures Test (CEFT) to a group of elderly upon admission to a nursing home and to a group of community-living elderly. Both groups were retested four months later. The institutionalized group exhibited significantly lower CEFT scores on initial testing than the community-living group. In addition, the CEFT scores for the institutionalized group declined significantly from pretest to posttest. The results suggested that greater field dependence in the institutionalized elderly may be due to pre-institutional dependence regression that continues after institutionalization. Additional measures of mental status and activity levels were also lower in the institutionalized group upon admission supporting a pre-institutional generalized regression effect. © 1987 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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