The Black Elderly: Satisfaction and Quality of Later Life
by Margaret M. Coke & James A. Twaite; 1995; New York: The Haworth Press; 128 pages; hard cover
This book presents the results of an empirical study designed to develop and test a model for predicting life satisfaction among Black older adults. The authors engaged the reader by initially presenting an extensive and thorough literature review. This review provided valuable insights into: a) the WestAfrican culture and the role of history on the evolvement of the Black American family; b) the function and importance of the church on the Black community; c) the importance of the family and its influence on life satisfaction; and d) the relationship between the individuals' health status and their feelings of life satisfaction. More specifically, the literature clearly supported the authors premise that any model designed to predict life satisfaction among Black older adults must include demographic and socioeconomic factors (e.g., gender, age, actual income, occupational and educational levels), as well as variables addressing the contributions of subjective self-perception indicators (e.g., health status, adequacy of income, and degree or level of personal religiosity), family role responsibilities, and participation in church-related activities. Thus, the extensive literature review provided a framework for identifying and denning the predictor and dependent variables incorporated into this multivariate model.
The second portion of the book presented the empirical study used to test the model. A structured formal interview was used to gather data. The instrument, which included both forced choice and openended items, was designed to measure the respondents' self -perceived health and adequacy of income, actual annual household income, educational and occupational levels, family role responsibilities, and involvement in church-related activities. The interview questions also attempted to address life satisfaction. A copy of the instrument was included in the book.
Clear, concise presentations of the methodology, statistical analyses, findings, interpretations, and conclusions were included. Two important conclusions were: a) gender played a significant role in determining the factors which influenced life satisfaction; and b) individuals must be cautious in generalizing about the predictors of life satisfaction among Black older adults because they are a heterogeneous population.
The book's strengths include its readability, insights, genuineness, and thoroughness. This well-written book is intended to be a resource primarily for social workers but is useful for anyone interested in the topic of fostering healthy aging among Black clients. Health care providers, especially gerontological nurses, academics, students, and policy makers, can gain increased insights into addressing Black older adults or the community in which they live.
This book is a resource that can be useful in assisting health professionals in gaining greater appreciation and understanding of this growing segment of society.