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See detailSocial policy measures for improving subjective well-being in later life: Issues of theoretical and empirical foundation
Boll, Thomas UL; Ferring, Dieter UL

Scientific Conference (2014, September 15)

Subjective well-being (SWB) in later life is important not just as an indicator of life quality, of mental health and of successful aging of older people, but also because of its effects on individually ... [more ▼]

Subjective well-being (SWB) in later life is important not just as an indicator of life quality, of mental health and of successful aging of older people, but also because of its effects on individually or socially relevant outcomes (e.g. health, social engagement). This raises the question about the extent to which and under what conditions SWB of older people can be improved by social policy measures (SPM). Our presentation examines theoretical and empirical issues related to answering this question. A first theoretical topic considers the relevance of bottom-up vs. top-down approaches conceptualizing the link between domain-specific satisfaction (e.g., with health, financial situation, social relationships) and global life satisfaction in old age. A second issue concerns the theoretical status of SWB in causal networks, i.e., SWB as consequence, as cause, as mediator and as moderator variable. A third topic refers to what can be derived from different theoretical approaches to SWB about whether and when SPM should have an effect of SWB in later life. Following that several empirical questions with respect to improving SWB of older people through SPM are considered. First, we discuss whether the present level of SWB in older adults (or subgroups thereof) indicates a demand for improving SWB. Second, we look at the importance of SWB for individually and socially desirable outcomes (e.g., on health, community involvement) by providing specific evidence which can provide further reasons for improving SWB through SPM. Third, we examine which life circumstances (e.g., financial situation, functional status), life events (e.g., becoming disabled) and individual activities (e.g., volunteering) are known to be significantly related to SWB and which of these conditions could principally be improved through SPM. Fourth, we discuss existing and needed empirical evidence for the effects of local, regional, national SPM on SWB in later life. We emphasize that past research has already produced an impressive body of knowledge relevant for improving SWB in older people through SPM, but that further theoretical and empirical efforts are needed to provide such SPM with a richer foundation. We conclude that better strategies for communicating results of research about SWB to policy makers should be elaborated so that these can have more impact on policy decisions about SPM. [less ▲]

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See detailAmbivalence in family caregivers for older people: Emotion-theoretical views
Boll, Thomas UL

Scientific Conference (2014, June 26)

Ambivalences in family caregivers for older people are analysed from an emotion-theoretical point of view and the benefits of this approach are delineated. The topic is confined to psychological ... [more ▼]

Ambivalences in family caregivers for older people are analysed from an emotion-theoretical point of view and the benefits of this approach are delineated. The topic is confined to psychological ambivalence as an experience of the individual with a special emphasis on emotional ambivalence as co-presence of positive and negative emotions about the various aspects of adult children’s care provision. The stage for understanding mixed emotions in this context is set through a description of the multi-facetted nature of the caregiving situation: (1) Various difficulties of the older parent (e.g., diseases, problems with activities of daily living, suffering), (2) multiple tasks of the caring adult child (e.g., skilled nursing, help with daily activities, emotional support provision), and (3) several gains and losses for the older person and the caring child. The generation of positive and negative emotions is analysed from a cognitive point of view according to which emotions toward caregiving arise from subjective appraisals of the various facets of the caregiving situation. These appraisals are, in turn, conceived to consist in comparisons between what adult children desire and what they believe with respect to the caregiving situation. Fulfillments of such desires are assumed to lead to positive emotions (joy, pride, admiration, etc.) and frustrations of such desires are assumed to result in negative emotions (sadness, pity, guilt feelings, etc.). Because adult children have multiple desires (e.g., own welfare, welfare of old parent, welfare of other relatives) and multiple beliefs about the caregiving situation, various combinations of positive and negative emotions and thus ambivalences are expected and described. This kind of analysis is further applied to emotional ambivalences about “big care decisions” (e.g., initiating nursing home admission) and “small care decisions” (e.g., taking a care off-time over the weekend). In concluding, heuristic benefits of this emotional-theoretical approach are summarized: Options for a refined description, measurement, understanding and management of emotional ambivalences in the context of intergenerational caregiving. [less ▲]

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See detailPflege alter Menschen in der Familie: Emotionen, Ziele und Handlungsmöglichkeiten von Angehörigen
Boll, Thomas UL

Scientific Conference (2013, November 27)

Familienangehörige sind die wichtigsten informellen Pflegepersonen alter Menschen. Der vorliegende Beitrag beleuchtet aus emotions- und handlungstheoretischer Sicht affektive und aktiv-gestalterische ... [more ▼]

Familienangehörige sind die wichtigsten informellen Pflegepersonen alter Menschen. Der vorliegende Beitrag beleuchtet aus emotions- und handlungstheoretischer Sicht affektive und aktiv-gestalterische Prozesse in der Familienpflege, die in der traditionellen Forschung zu "caregiver burden" und "caregiver gain" bislang nur unzureichend behandelt wurden. Einleitend werden verschiedene objektive Facetten der Pflegebedürftigkeit im Alter inclusive der daraus erwachsenden Aufgaben und Leistungen pflegender Angehöriger sowie der positiven und negativen Auswirkungen auf andere Lebensbereiche der Pflegenden und Gepflegten beschrieben. Im Anschluss daran wird die subjektive Bedeutung der Pflegesituation für die pflegenden Angehörigen thematisiert. Hierbei wird zunächst das breite Spektrum positiver und negativer Emotionen pflegender Angehöriger, deren Genese aus der subjektiven Einschätzung der Pflegesituation und die mit den ausgelösten Emotionen einhergehenden Handlungsbereitschaften der pflegenden Angehörigen dargestellt. Einen weiteren Schwerpunkt bilden zentrale Entscheidungen pflegender Angehöriger für das Leben der Gepflegten und für ihr eigenes Leben (z.B. Übernahme der Pflegerolle, Veranlassung einer Heimunterbringung). Hierbei wird auf die multiplen Ziele pflegender Angehöriger (z.B. Wohlergehen der Gepflegten, eigenes Wohlergehen, Wohlergehen Dritter), mögliche Zielkonflikte und die Bedeutung von Zielen für das Handeln pflegender Angehöriger eingegangen. Möglichkeiten der konsequenten Zielverfolgung in der Pflege werden ebenso behandelt wie solche der flexiblen Zieladjustierung im Falle unerreichbar gewordener Pflegeziele. Abschließend wird resümiert , dass die Anpassung von pflegenden Angehörigen ein komplexes Geschehen darstellt: Die Familienpflege ist mit vielen Aufgaben, Leistungen und Auswirkungen auf andere Lebensbereiche verbunden, wodurch multiple Ziele der Pflegenden tangiert (erfüllt oder frustriert) werden können; solche Ziele können je nach Lage der Situation auf sehr verschiedene Weise verfolgt oder auch an das Realisierbare angepasst werden. [less ▲]

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See detailFamily caregiving for older people from a life-span developmental point of view
Boll, Thomas UL; Ferring, Dieter UL

in Abstract book: 16th European Conference on Developmental Psychology (2013, September 05)

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See detailFamily caregiving for older people from a life-span developmental point of view
Boll, Thomas UL; Ferring, Dieter UL

in Albert, Isabelle; Ferring, Dieter (Eds.) Intergenerational relations: European perspectives in family and society (2013)

Family members are the most important informal carers for older people. The present paper analyses their situation with core concepts from life-span developmental psychology such as critical life events ... [more ▼]

Family members are the most important informal carers for older people. The present paper analyses their situation with core concepts from life-span developmental psychology such as critical life events, developmental tasks, development-related goals, emotions, and actions. From that perspective two mayor branches of past caregiver research (on caregiver burden and on caregiver gain) are reviewed and criticized as underestimating the active role of family carers as authors of important decisions for their own and the care-recipients’ life and as neglecting the carers’ differentiated emotions. Following this, hypotheses are generated about how the multi-facetted caregiving situation partly frustrates and partly fulfills family carers’ goals concerning their own development and that of the care recipient and how this gives rise to family carers’ emotions, action tendencies, and actions. Moreover, family carers’ goals, goal conflicts, and major action possibilities are considered as well as carers’s goal adjustments and development of competencies and personality attributes in response to caregiving. It is concluded that concepts from life-span developmental psychology enable a more comprehensive analysis of family caregiving and promise future progress in research, especially if they also take into account the socio-cultural constraints and options of family carers’ actions and development. [less ▲]

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See detailDie Situation pflegender Angehöriger alter Menschen aus Sicht der Entwicklungspsychologie der Lebensspanne
Boll, Thomas UL; Ferring, Dieter UL

in Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie : Organ der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Gerontologie und Geriatrie; Supplement 1 (2012, September)

Familienangehörige sind die wichtigsten informellen Pflegepersonen alter Menschen. Bisherige Forschung hat v.a. aus stress-theoretischer Sicht die Belastungen und deren negative Folgen für die Gesundheit ... [more ▼]

Familienangehörige sind die wichtigsten informellen Pflegepersonen alter Menschen. Bisherige Forschung hat v.a. aus stress-theoretischer Sicht die Belastungen und deren negative Folgen für die Gesundheit der Pflegenden thematisiert. Stress-theoretische Ansätze können aber die inzwischen gut dokumentierten positiven Erfahrungen und Entwicklungsgewinne pflegender Angehöriger nur unzureichend erklären. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht die weitergehenden heuristischen Vorzüge einer entwicklungspsychologischen Sicht. Methoden: Literaturrecherchen. Analyse der Situation pflegender Angehöriger mit Kernkonzepten der Lebensspannen-Entwicklungspsychologie (z.B. kritische Lebensereignisse, Entwicklungsziele, intentionale Selbstentwicklung). Ergebnisse: Eine entwicklungspsychologische Sicht erschließt (1) negative, positive und als ambivalent erlebte Aspekte des Pflegens, auch als Funktion von Alter und Phase im Lebenslauf, (2) wie die facettenreiche Pflegesituation diverse Wünsche und Ziele pflegender Angehöriger bzgl. eigener Entwicklung und der der Gepflegten teils frustriert, teils erfüllt, und wie daraus Emotionen und Handlungsbereitschaften erwachsen, (3) wie sich Wünsche, Ziele, Kompetenzen und Persönlichkeitsmerkmale pflegender Angehöriger durch Pflegeerfahrungen weiterentwickeln. Schlussfolgerungen: Kernkonzepte der Entwicklungspsychologie der Lebensspanne erlauben eine umfassendere Analyse der Situation pflegender Angehöriger als bisher und versprechen weitere Fortschritte. [less ▲]

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See detailLe Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (2011). Apprendre le développement durable - agir pour l’avenir. Stratégie nationale d’éducation pour un développement durable
Boll, Thomas UL; Faber, Théid UL; Franz-Balsen, Angela

Book published by Ministère de l'Education nationale et de la Formation professionnelle (2011)

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See detailSubjective well-being in older adults: Current state and gaps of research
Ferring, Dieter UL; Boll, Thomas UL

in Bovenberg, Lans; Van Soest, Arthur; Zaidi, Asghar (Eds.) Ageing, health and pensions in Europe (2010)

Reviews research on subjective well-being in older adults and describes remaining desiderata. After introducing the topic of subjective well-being (SWB) in older adults, various policy questions related ... [more ▼]

Reviews research on subjective well-being in older adults and describes remaining desiderata. After introducing the topic of subjective well-being (SWB) in older adults, various policy questions related to that topic are formulated. Then the major advances in research are described. These refer to a conceptual clarification and measurement issues of SWB and related concepts (e.g., life satisfaction), the internal structure of SWB, the theoretical status of SWB in causal networks, main findings about the developmental course, causes, and consequences of SWB in older adults, and theoretical models about SWB regulation in this population. Based on that, remaining gaps in knowledge and potential research directions for SWB especially in older adults are highlighted. These are related to the measurement of SWB, the limited age range and age segmentation in empirical studies on SWB, the causes of SWB and its regulation as well as effective policy measures to promote SWB. Then, the current state of European infrastructures and desirable developments related to research on SWB in older adults are described (large-scale longitudinal studies on aging, regular representative surveys of the general and the older population, international research cooperations and networks). Finally, the significance of the available and expected future knowledge for social policy decision making is discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailTrait and state components of perceived parental differential treatment in middle adulthood. A longitudinal study.
Boll, Thomas UL; Michels, Tom UL; Ferring, Dieter UL et al

in Journal of Individual Differences (2010), 31(3), 158-165

Despite its importance for basic and applied psychology, only a few longitudinal studies have examined whether parental differential treatment (PDT) is a persistent or a transient phenomenon, these ... [more ▼]

Despite its importance for basic and applied psychology, only a few longitudinal studies have examined whether parental differential treatment (PDT) is a persistent or a transient phenomenon, these studies being confined to childhood or adolescence. Based on latent state-trait theory, the present study identified the amount of variance in three dimensions of perceived PDT in middle adulthood attributable to stable interindividual differences (trait variance) and to intraindividual changes (state variance). At two occasions of measurement (2 years apart), 709 middle-aged adults rated how often they and a sibling currently received parental recognition, nurture, and demand to assume filial responsibility. Tests of latent state-trait models for these three dimensions of PDT by structural equation modeling revealed that trait variance represented the largest proportion of the systematic variance in all observed indicators of perceived maternal and paternal differential treatment. Yet there was a considerable increase in state variance for the dimension of differential parental demand for assuming responsibility. Results are discussed with respect to the conditions accounting for the high overall stability of actual and/or perceived PDT in adulthood, and different approaches for determining their role are proposed. [less ▲]

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See detailEmotional relationship quality of adult children whith ageing parents: On solidarity, conflict and ambivalence.
Ferring, Dieter UL; Michels, Tom UL; Boll, Thomas UL et al

in European Journal of Ageing (2009), 6

Emotions toward a relationship partner provide relevant and specific information about relationship quality. Based on this assumption the present study was performed to identify different types of ... [more ▼]

Emotions toward a relationship partner provide relevant and specific information about relationship quality. Based on this assumption the present study was performed to identify different types of emotional relationship quality of middle-aged adult children with their aging parents. This was done by cluster analytic procedures in a sample of 1,208 middle-aged adult children (482 men, 726 women). Using ratings of positive and negative emotions toward their mother and their father as grouping variables, the same four-cluster solution emerged for both the child-mother relationship and the child-father relationship. Clusters were labelled as amicable, disharmonious, detached, and ambivalent relationships. Results showed that especially amicable relationships clearly prevailed followed by ambivalent, detached, and disharmonious relationships. Clusters differed significantly with respect to gender of adult child, willingness to support, expected parental support, and overt conflicts. In a cross-classification of cluster membership regarding the child-mother relationship (4 clusters) and the child-father relationship (4 clusters), all possible 16 combinations were observed, with a considerable degree of divergence regarding the type of relationship quality within the same family. Results are discussed with respect to types of emotional relationship quality, within family differences, and the intrafamilial regulation of relationship quality. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of parental differential treatment on relationship quality with siblings and parents: Justice evaluations as mediators
Boll, Thomas UL; Ferring, Dieter UL; Filipp, S.-H.

in Social Justice Research (2005), 18(2), 155-182

Based on equity theory, the present study analyzes to what extent justice evaluations mediate the effects of perceived parental differential treatment (PDT) on relationship quality with siblings and ... [more ▼]

Based on equity theory, the present study analyzes to what extent justice evaluations mediate the effects of perceived parental differential treatment (PDT) on relationship quality with siblings and parents as experienced in middle adulthood. Middle-aged adult offspring (N = 709) rated how often they and a sibling received parental recognition, nurturance, and demands for assuming filial responsibility. In addition, they indicated their justice evaluations of PDT and completed measures of relationship quality to sibling and parents. Justice evaluations emerged as either partial or complete mediators between PDT and relationship quality. Moreover, justice evaluations turned out to be more powerful predictors of relationship quality to parents than PDT per se. Implications are discussed concerning factors contributing to justice evaluations and the role of PDT within the context of other justice issues in families. [less ▲]

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See detailPerceived parental differential treatment in middle adulthood: Curvilinear relations with relationship quality to sibling and parents
Boll, Thomas UL; Ferring, Dieter UL; Filipp, S.-H.

in Journal of Family Psychology (2003), 17(4), 472-487

Guided by predictions from equity theory and the self-esteem maintenance model, links between perceptions of current parental differential treatment and the perceiver's experienced relationship quality ... [more ▼]

Guided by predictions from equity theory and the self-esteem maintenance model, links between perceptions of current parental differential treatment and the perceiver's experienced relationship quality with sibling and parents were analyzed in a sample of 1,020 adult (middle-aged) offspring. Participants rated how often they and a sibling receive parental recognition, nurture, and demands for filial responsibility. In addition, they indicated their emotions and behaviors toward sibling and parents. Data analyses showed that an individual's experienced relationship with sibling was best when both were treated equally and diminished with increasing favoritism or disfavoritism. Experienced relationship with parents was best when participants were favored a bit; the relationship worsened when participants were disfavored and worsened only slightly when they were extremely favored. Results are discussed regarding mediating processes and implications for practical applications. [less ▲]

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See detailElterliche Ungleichbehandlung in Kindheit und Jugend aus der Perspektive des mittleren Erwachsenenalters
Ferring, Dieter UL; Boll, Thomas UL; Filipp, S.-H.

in Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Padagogische Psychologie (2003), 35(2), 83-97

Analyzed the structure and extent of recalled differential parental treatment in a sample of 1,208 subjects (Ss) aged 40-54 yrs. In addition, equity-theoretical predictions concerning potential ... [more ▼]

Analyzed the structure and extent of recalled differential parental treatment in a sample of 1,208 subjects (Ss) aged 40-54 yrs. In addition, equity-theoretical predictions concerning potential consequences for relationship quality to siblings and parents were tested. Ss had to rate with respect to themselves as well as a selected sibling how often they had received various forms of maternal and paternal treatment when growing up. Factor analyses of difference scores (own minus sibling) revealed 2 dimensions of both maternal and paternal treatment, which grouped differential parental behavior with respect to differential support and differential strictness. Results of hierarchic cluster analyses showed that a group of "equally treated" (80.4% of the sample), "disadvantaged" (13.2%), and "favored" Ss (6.4%) could be identified with respect to paternal differential treatment; a group of "equally treated" (87%) and a group of "disadvantaged" Ss (13%) emerged with respect to maternal treatment. Analyses of variance revealed that "disadvantaged" children reported less current attachment/closeness to parents and siblings as well as less willingness to support parents and siblings than "equally treated" and "favored" children. [less ▲]

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See detailSoziale Vergleiche zwischen Geschwistern im frühen Erwachsenenalter: Eine explorative Studie
Ferring, Dieter UL; Boll, Thomas UL; Neumann, B.

in Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Padagogische Psychologie (2002), 34(3), 174-193

The present study focuses on social comparisons in sibling relations in early adulthood. Starting from theoretical and empirical evidence of social comparison theory as well as research and findings on ... [more ▼]

The present study focuses on social comparisons in sibling relations in early adulthood. Starting from theoretical and empirical evidence of social comparison theory as well as research and findings on sibling relations, the thesis of a self-serving use of social comparisons in sibling relations is elaborated. A sample of N = 100 subjects had to name up to ten positive and ten negative personal characteristics which were additionally rated with respect to their personal importance; resulting comparison judgments were analyzed with respect to inferred similarity and/or inferiority as well as superiority towards the sibling. Furthermore, relations between comparison judgments and structural variables of sibling relations (i.e., sex of siblings) as well as self-esteem were explored; the effects of social comparison on indicators of relationship quality were investigated in the final step of the analysis. Findings showed that subjects formulated more dissimilarity than similarity in their judgments. Personal characteristics from which subjects inferred inferiority towards the sibling were rated as significantly less important than characteristics from which superiority was inferred. Furthermore, social comparisons were weakly related to structural characteristics and self-esteem but showed a more substantial and differential association with indicators of relationship quality. [less ▲]

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See detailVorhersage elternbezogener Schuldgefühle bei Kindern im mittleren Erwachsenenalter
Boll, Thomas UL; Filipp, Sigrun-Heide

in Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Padagogische Psychologie (2002), 34(2), 95-105

Based on analyses of the cognitive-evaluative structure of guilt feelings and of the normative context of parent-child-relations, the present study aimed at identifying predictors of parent-related ... [more ▼]

Based on analyses of the cognitive-evaluative structure of guilt feelings and of the normative context of parent-child-relations, the present study aimed at identifying predictors of parent-related feelings of guilt in a sample of middle-aged children. 300 respondents (daughters and sons) aged 41 to 51 years were enrolled in a questionnaire study. Though, parent-related feelings of guilt were rather infrequent on the level of means, substantial interindividual differences were observed. These differences could be predicted from two sets of variables, (1) children’s self-perceived violations of filial obligations and (2) reproachful behaviours on the side of parents. About one fourth of the variance in feelings of guilt could be explained. Feelings of guilt were particularly frequent in children (in particular daughters) who had little (superficial) contact with their parents, and who avoided conflict with their parents, when – at the same time – parents were rated to be low in subjective well-being, and whose parents lived alone. In addition, feelings of guilt were enhanced with an increase in parent’s bossiness, especially when addressed to children scoring low in self-esteem. Results are discussed with respect to additional self-perceived violations of filial obligations and cognitive appraisals of responsibility, that could further improve the prediction of parent-related feelings of guilt. [less ▲]

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