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Resident-to-resident relational aggression and subjective well-being in assisted living facilities

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Purpose: Research in settings similar to assisted living facilities suggests that relational aggression, an indirect and mature form of aggression, might occur in assisted living facilities. This empirical study investigates the existence of relational aggression in a sample of residents and the relationship between relational aggression and resident's subjective well-being. Design and Methods: 121 residents from six assisted living facilities completed questionnaires assessing personal experiences as victims of relational aggression and subjective well-being. Also nurses reported on victimization of relational aggression for every participant. Linear regression models were used to examine the association between both reports of relational aggression and subjective well-being. Results: Relational aggression was shown to exist in assisted living facilities according to both residents (prevalence: 19%) and nurses (prevalence: 41%). Chi-square testing revealed no association between ratings by nurses and residents. Self-reports of victimization of relational aggression were related to depression, anxiety, satisfaction with life and social loneliness, but not to emotional loneliness. Nurse-reports of victimization of relational aggression were not related to subjective well-being. Implications: Self-reports of relational aggression seem to be better predictors of resident's well-being than nurse-reports of relational aggression. Awareness of these findings and the discrepancy between nurse-reports and self-reports are important for practice and for future research regarding social dynamics and living arrangements in elderly care settings.

Keywords: care facilities; mental health; social relationships; victimization

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen 6500 HE, The Netherlands 2: Psychology and Communication of Health and Risk, University of Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, Enschede, The Netherlands

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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