Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD, Director; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Elmer Baldwin, EdD


administrators, elderly, functional independence, Leadership studies, living conditions, mature adults, quality of life


Limitations of policy makers and health care providers understanding about living conditions in later adulthood continually constrains mature adults from doing more for themselves, and society. These circumstances move society to devalue mature adults. Less valued mature adults tend to become even more dependent, that is, increasingly less willing to care for themselves, and less able to contribute to the social good. As a result, a vicious cycle was created, and it caused mature adults to live lower quality lives, and become increasingly dependent on others. To empower mature adults in later life, this study does the preliminary work to develop an instrument to discover which quality of life indicators/factors best explain Functional Independence (FI). The six indicators investigated were the (1) Activities of Daily Living Status (ADLS) or competency in the performance of essential daily tasks, (2) Physical Status (PS) or the level of physical activity, (3) Cognitive Status (CS) or good mental health, (4) Social Status (SS) or supportive relationships, (5) Environmental Status (ES) or the freedom from undue stressful life events and everyday frustrations, and (6) Health Status (HS) or the mitigation/absence of chronic diseases. Empowering mature adults to do more for themselves, and society has the potential to engender more enlightened social attitudes about later adulthood. To learn more about these six quality of life indicators, data highlighting the most relevant research studies were accumulated, and a 32-question survey was created. Administrators then were contacted from five senior citizen centers to make arrangements to administer the survey. After taking steps to protect all subjects, the survey questionnaire was piloted to a sample of 10-12 mature adults, and then completed by a total sample of 160 subjects who could be conveniently recruited at the five senior citizen centers. The data analysis reported demographics showing a majority of the sample of mature adults were female (98), Caucasian (134), over 66 (130), married (at least once) (122), and high school graduates (147). Factor analysis revealed a seven-factor solution accounting for 62.1% of the variance of FI, four of its seven factors consisting of three or more questions, and significant factor loadings for 22 of the 26 survey questions analyzed. Internal consistency reliability was measured using Cronbach's alpha; based on the five inter-item subscales (ADLS, PS, CS, ES, SS) analyzed, it was found that the overall alpha for Functional Independence (FI) was .7771. In contrast, based on the 26 questions analyzed, it was found that the overall alpha for Functional Independence (FI) was .8285. Null hypotheses testing showed that significant correlations existed among each pair of quality of life variables analyzed; this was consistent with the research reviewed.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access