Effect of belief in a just world on daily living activities of nursing home residents
Ramzi Nasser (Qatar University), Jacqueline Doumit (Notre Dame University), Asma Al-Attiya, and Hessa Fokhroo (Qatar University), 2013, 41(9), 1445–1456

With a rapidly aging population worldwide, studies of the aged demographic are definitely warranted and will be a valuable contribution to help ensure quality of life for people in nursing homes. The authors of this article aimed to determine the relationship between older people’s belief in a just world (BJW) and the activities of daily living. The participants in this study were residents at a nursing home in Lebanon who were 60 years and over and were physically and mentally capable of interacting with the interviewer.

Quality of life as one gets older is aligned with an individual’s state of health and positive social and cognitive functioning. Optimal “golden years” would be those in which a retiree is able to enjoy many of the activities he or she may not have been able to during years of employment due to time constraints and family obligations. If a person is in some way physically or mentally impaired and relies on assistance to carry out most daily activities then his or her BJW, which is “a self-sustained belief or the illusion of a just world in order to preserve one’s sense of cognitive balance in dealing with crisis”, is likely to be limited.

I thought that the results, given the sample, were both surprising and positive. Many of the nursing home residents had lived through a long civil war in Lebanon and this could be expected to have affected their BJW for the worse. In fact, for many, this traumatic experience may have actually provided them with a coping mechanism that allowed them to adapt to life within the nursing home.

The authors had hypothesized that “those who had lived for a longer period of time than others had in the nursing home would have a decreased sense of justice, whereas those who had lived there for a shorter period of time and who had a strong sense of BJW would be more active in their daily living routines than would those who had lived there for longer”. The authors found that if an older person has a strong sense of BJW and is able to utilize effective strategies to cope with the living conditions within the nursing home, this will in turn have a positive effect on their physical and mental health.

Emily Duncan | Copyeditor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal