Does Greater Frequency of Contact With General Physicians Reduce Feelings of Mastery in Older Adults?
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In this study, we test one aspect of Rodin's hypothesis concerning age-related decline in mastery: The effect of frequent contact with the health care sector on mastery. We conducted cross-sectional and longitudinal multiple regression analyses to examine the effect of general physician (GP) visits on mastery. In the cross-sectional analyses, a higher number of GP visits is associated with lower mastery, but this relationship is substantially weakened when physical health is entered into the analysis. These results are confirmed in the longitudinal analysis. The effect of GP visits on mastery thus appears to be significantly confounded by physical health problems. These findings direct attention away from the role of contact with the health care sector in influencing perceived mastery and toward the importance of physical health status as both a cause and potential consequence of changes in perceived control with age.
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