Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 02/23/2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Natalie L. Denburg

Second Advisor

William Ming Liu

Abstract

Older adults are faced with many complex and critical decisions regarding retirement, health care, finances, and living situation, and their ability to make such decisions successfully has a profound impact on the individual and society as a whole. Numerous neurologically and psychiatrically healthy older adults do not make advantageous decisions: they get swindled and make poor financial choices. The vulnerability of such older adults has been postulated to be the result of disproportionate aging of the frontal lobes. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether decision-making performance among older adults can be improved as a result of pharmacological and/or psychoeducational intervention. Healthy community-dwelling persons were recruited to participate in four conditions: Lexapro, placebo, psychoeducational condition (Problem Solving Therapy [PST]), and waitlist control. Twenty-six elderly persons participated. Only six seniors participated in the pharmacological conditions due to unanticipated challenges with recruitment (e.g., lack of interest in drug studies, contraindications to study drug). Statistical comparisons were conducted to compare performance on several laboratory tasks of decision-making under conditions of ambiguity, risk, and deceptive advertising, between the PST group and Control group. The findings suggest that a psychosocial intervention can be effective in the enhancement of decision-making ability under ambiguity among healthy community-dwelling older adults and as such can provide a foundation for future investigations.

Keywords

aging, decision making, older adults, problem-solving therapy

Pages

x, 123 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 100-123).

Comments

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Copyright

Copyright © 2016 Christopher Minh Nguyen

Available for download on Friday, February 23, 2018

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