Perceived Control, Reinforcement, Satisfaction, and Depression in Community Elderly

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article applies cognitive behavioral models of depression to a generally healthy elderly population. Interviews were conducted with 137 elderly people about their perceived levels of reinforcement, control, and satisfaction from five domains of life: food, personal hygiene, leisure activities, social activities, and employment. Global satisfaction and depression measures were also obtained. Perceived levels of reinforcement and of control were significant determinants of satisfaction; however, perceived level of reinforcement was more significant than was perceived control across the domains of life, and perceived level of reinforcement was solely significant in the prediction of general depression or satisfaction. Perceived control seemed to have played a larger relative role in accounting for satisfaction when these elderly people were middle-aged. The results suggest that improving the well-being of these people may be directed at increasing perceived levels of reinforcement in specific areas of life, especially those related to personal hygiene and social activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-503
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes


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