Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Relationship between Ego Integrity, Despair, Social Support and Health Related Quality of Life

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Relationship between Ego Integrity, Despair, Social Support and Health Related Quality of Life

Article excerpt

There has been an increase in the number of older persons worldwide in recent years (Ibrahim, Ghabrah & Qadi, 2005) and by 2050, two billion people will be aged 60 and older (WHO, 2014). Aging or growing old is a natural and unavoidable process that everyone has to go through. Hie age of 60 to 65 years is said to be the beginning of old age in most developed countries represented by eighth stage of psychosocial development and corresponds to the development of personality in late adulthood (Erickson, 1963). Erikson (1963) theorized that when people pass from one psychosocial stage to another they tend to balance the inner psychological and external social tension. Within each stage the individual is confronted with negative opposing forces, for example despair as opposing to ego integrity. Erikson termed challenges faced at each stage as psychosocial crises and with their successful resolution at one stage enables an individual to enter the next stage of psychosocial development (Erickson, 1963).

Ego integrity versus despair is the last stage of personality development that involves accepting one's life as it is (Erickson, 1963). Hie older adults who are successful at this feel contended with their life and experience a feeling of completeness (Berks 2009). Erikson (1963) gave the description of experience of ego integrity "as feeling a sense of enduring wholeness, an effectively integrated belief that one's life makes sense and fits together in a meaningful way," and viewed life review as one of the most important task of this last stage. He noted that older age individuals try to make the sense of their life by reviewing it and confronting the reality of death. Hiose who are successful, maintain a positive personality and they gain a holistic understanding of themselves whereas those who do not successfully confront their past, get stuck in the psychosocial crises i.e. despair (Erickson, 1963; Torges, Stewart & Duncan, 2009). Older adults, through reminiscence or life review attain ego integrity and avoid despair. Haber (2006) identified ego integrity as a crucial component of life satisfaction). Despair is related with hatred and repentance (Haber, 2006) and if an older person is unable to accept his life, it may lead to the predominance of despair (Hearn 1977).

Social support is a process that starts from the day the baby starts developing from the form of an embryo and as life goes on the individual gains support from other family members such as parents and siblings. Later peers at school and colleagues at work provide varieties of social support network (Cobb, 1976). In late adulthood as individuals become fragile, social support from family becomes crucial; and if it is not available it becomes the most important stressors that may affect the overall health of old-aged adults(Berkman & Syme, 1979) especially if they experience social isolation (White et al, 2009).Social support is described as "support accessible to an individual through social ties to other individuals, groups, and the larger community" (Lin, Simeone, Ensel & Kuo, 1979) and acts as a buffer against negative life events to help enhance self-esteem and self-image (Towey, n.d.). Cohen and Wills (1985) add that social support decreases stress when need matches what one receives (. Htus when social support is low it can dangerously affect health in older individual and when this support is abundant it results in better physical, mental and psychological health (Matteson & Hall, 2011).To understand social support we must also take a glance at actual and perceived support.

Health is defined as "a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (WHO, 2003,) and Quality of Life can be defined as "a state of perceived health and its effects on person" (Henderson, 2008,). Health-Related Quality of Life (HrQol) includes factors like physical, psychological and social aspects of wellbeing and avoidance of effects of illness, availability of treatment and infirmity. …

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