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Social Work Professor Publishes Study on Resiliency for Older Adults

Bonnie with her research poster

Bonnie Kenaley, associate professor for the School of Social Work, presented her research study, “The Influence of Humor and Spirituality on the Resiliency of Community-Dwelling Older Adults” at the Gerontological Society of America’s 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting on Nov. 13-17, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

Kenaley’s research explored the influences of humor and spirituality on resiliency for older adults, as they often face many challenges which require coping mechanisms to help remain positive. Kenaley, along with graduate students Nicole Todd, Zvi Gellis, Kim McLive-Reed from the University of Pennsylvania, and Eunhae Kim from Texas State University, surveyed 156 older adults, all 60 years of age or older, asking them to identify the coping mechanisms used to improve their resiliency.

Of the 156 people surveyed, a majority of participants indicated that they use humor to cheer themselves up when they feel depressed or need to cope with problems. Participants stated that they felt that, having a humorous outlook on life, prevented them from getting depressed. Additionally, nearly 120 of the 156 surveyed said they relied on a spiritual force for strength, support, and guidance.

These results suggested to researchers that humor, along with spirituality, are two internal resources that promote resiliency in older adults, 60 years of age or older.

Kenaley’s research is also published in the Journal of Innovation in Aging. Read the full article here.