This applied dissertation was designed to investigate the knowledge gap of how older adults use creativity as a tool to explore individual social capital. Individual social capital is a societal resource created by individuals as the product of participating in social activities that produce benefit for the greater economic or societal good. The numbers of older adults are increasing, impacting social support systems and societal economics. The central question was the following: How and in what ways do older adults describe and use creativity as a tool for developing individual social capital? Two issue subquestions guided this study: (a) What do older adults gain by increasing their individual social capital, and (b) what do older adults gain from engaging in creativity?
The qualitative study was conducted in a suburban, city-sponsored senior center with 6 female adults 50 years of age and older enrolled in an intermediate-level creative arts class (silversmithing) that lasted 5 weeks. The researcher gathered data through nonparticipant observations, interviews with each participant, and a participant journaling activity.
Five themes emerged. Study participants reported an enhanced ability to discover and express their personal issues, an increase in willingness to face risk and challenges, a recognition of the importance of process over product, an increase in their social networks, and a discovery of their individual abilities to continue to learn. Future longitudinal research should be conducted to discover whether the length of time an older adult is actively involved in acts of creativity impacts the strength of social capital interactions.
|School:||Nova Southeastern University|
|Department:||Human Service Administration/Gerontology|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social research, Gerontology, Social psychology|
|Keywords:||Aging, Creativity, Older adults, Social capital|
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