Title

Participation In Self-Directed Learning By Older Adults

Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

W. Lee Pierce

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purposes of the present study were: (a) to test the effects of a selected set of variables upon frequency of participation in self-directed learning by older adults in order to determine if certain patterns existed; and (b) to identify the reasons for nonparticipation in self-directed learning by older adults according to three age categories. Independent variables were "opportunal," "attitudinal," and environmental/physical barriers, age, gender, race, marital status, educational attainment, employment status, and residential arrangement. The criterion variables, number of learning projects and number of hours spent in learning activities, were measured utilizing Tough's Interview Schedule for Studying Some Basic Characteristics of Learning Projects. Ninety older adults residing in southern Mississippi were interviewed individually for approximately one hour each utilizing the Tough instrument and a demographic questionnaire designed by the researcher. Subjects were classified into one of three age categories: 55 to 64, 65 to 74, and 75 and older. Canonical correlation analysis indicated that age, marital status, educational attainment, employment status, residential arrangement, opportunal barriers, and attitudinal barriers were noteworthy predictors of frequency of participation with respect to number of learning projects; employment status, residential arrangement, opportunal barriers, and environmental/physical barriers were noteworthy predictors of frequency of participation with respect to number of hours involved in learning projects. Follow-up commonality analyses was used to examine the unique contributions of each of the variable partitions. These analyses indicated that educational attainment and attitudinal barriers had the most unique predictive power for frequency of participation.