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January 2022

Fundamental analysis in research on well-being: Distress and the sense of control

Author(s): Ross, C. E.

Journal/Book: Gerontologist. 1996; 36: 1275 K Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20005-4006. Gerontological Society Amer. 584-594.

Abstract: Fundamental analysis defines the basic terms of social and behavioral research. It usually follows the rule ''one concept to a measure.'' However, some responses inherently reflect more than one underlying attribute, as when a test score reflects both knowledge of the subject and practice with taking tests. The standard methods of fundamental analysis break down in the presence of such cross-cutting factors. In this article, ave discuss two instances of confusion acid disagreement among social and behavioral scientists generated by the effects of cross-cutting factors on critical measures. In the first instance, a tendency to agree with the statements of others can make beliefs about personal control over events and outcomes seem unrelated to beliefs about control by chance, fate, or powerful others. The tendency to agree correlates positively with age. In the second instance, emotional expressiveness can make the frequency or intensity of sadness seem unrelated to the frequency or intensify of happiness. Women, who make up the large majority of older Americans, express themselves more freely than men, The apparent disjointedness of internal and external attributions of control, or of positive and negative emotions, results from methods assuming that the response to each question reflects one and only one underlying factor, Cross-cutting factor models eliminate the bias and confusion produced by response tendencies and help isolate and define the essential dimensions of response.

Note: Article Mirowsky J, Ohio State Univ, Dept Sociol, 300 Bricker Hall, 190 N Oval Mall, Columbus,OH 43210 USA

Keyword(s): measurement; depression; sense of control; age; sex; PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS; SEX-DIFFERENCES; GENDER DIFFERENCES; MENTAL-ILLNESS; RESPONSE BIAS; HEALTH RISKS; HIGHER RATES; HOMELESS; WOMEN; DEPRESSION


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