Research Paper

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 845-855

First online:

Perceived Control’s Influence on Wellbeing in Residential Care Versus Community Dwelling Older Adults

  • Jaclyn BroadbentAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University
  • , Shikkiah de Quadros-WanderAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University
  • , Jane A. McGillivrayAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University Email author 

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As people age and their control capacity presumably declines, it is argued that the influence of acceptance (or secondary perceived control) increases to help maintain normative levels of wellbeing. While previous studies have typically investigated the relationship between perceived control and global estimates of life satisfaction in community samples, the present study compared the link between perceived control and eight key domains of satisfaction in 101 older adults (65+ years) living in the community and 101 older adults (65+ years) living in residential aged-care. The findings supported the theory that stability in satisfaction and primary perceived control may, in part, be facilitated by a growing acceptance of what cannot be changed. Despite assumptions that old age is associated with lower primary control, particularly when living in an aged-care facility, the data did not indicate that primary perceived control was suppressed as a result of living in residential age-care. The results did indicate, however, that primary and secondary perceived control may predict satisfaction with comparable strength under low-control conditions, and that acceptance takes more of a prime position in low control situations in later life.


Subjective wellbeing Quality of life Perceived control Older adults Residential aged-care