Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Kathy Shadle James, DNSc, RN, Chair; Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN; Louise M. Rauckhorst, EdD, RN


age & aging, elderly, exercise, mental health, nursing, physical health, self-perception, social health


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the level of exercise and age and self-perception of physical, mental and social health in older adults. Voluntary quota sampling was used to recruit 224 older adults aged 55 and up. The Physical Activity Questionnaire for the Elderly (Voorrips, Ravelli, Dongelmans, Deurenberg, & Van Staveren, 1990) was used to determine the current level of exercise of the older adult. Age was measured using the Demographic Questionnaire by Leach (1999) and self-perception of physical health and mental health was measured using the SF-36 Health Survey by Ware (1993). The Texas Social Behavioral Inventory (Helmreich & Stapp, 1974), was used to assess self-perception of social health. Correlations between the variables were determined and 2 exploratory models were proposed that depicted the relationship between the variables. The relationships in the exploratory models were then analyzed using Multivariate Regression Analysis. A small, positive, significant correlation was found between exercise level and self-perception of physical health (r = .239, p < .05) and a moderate, negative, significant correlation was found between age and self-perception of physical health (r = -.308, p < .05). Active older adults tend to be more mentally and physically healthy. Exercise is imperative to maintaining good physical functioning. Therefore, it would be beneficial to encourage older adults to engage in some form of regular exercise and to investigate strategies to help keep seniors active.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons