Relationships between traditional and modern values held by Saudi Arabians and perceptions of life satisfaction in old age


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Relationships between traditional and modern values held by Saudi Arabians and perceptions of life satisfaction in old age
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xii, 126 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Al-jefri, Abdulrahim Houssain, 1950-
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Subjects / Keywords:
Older people -- Psychology -- Saudi Arabia   ( lcsh )
Quality of life -- Saudi Arabia   ( lcsh )
Values -- Saudi Arabia   ( lcsh )
Social policy -- Saudi Arabia   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1985.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 118-125).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Abdulrahim Houssain Al-Jefri.
General Note:
General Note:

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000875100
notis - AEH2640
oclc - 14641553
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Full Text







Copyright 1985


In the Name of God

Most Gracious, Most Merciful

To my Family


Thanks and gratitude are expressed first to Almighty

God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

The author would like to express his gratitude and

sincere thanks to all the members of his dissertation

committee for their valuable suggestions, advice and

guidance. Particularly, the author is indebted to the

chairperson of the supervisory committee, Dr. Hannelore

L. Wass, for her advice and encouragement in formulating

the problem and supervision of the study.

The author is deeply grateful to Dr. Wilson H.

Guertin whose guidance, patience, constructive criticism,

encouragement, and time given so generously made this

study an interesting learning experience.

Appreciation is expressed to the other members of

the committee, Dr. Robert Blume and Dr. Janet Larsen, for

their guidance and understanding.

The author is also grateful to the Government of

Saudi Arabia, represented by Umm Al-Qura University, a

former branch of King Abdulaziz University, for their

financial and educational support while he was studying

in the U.S.A.

Additionally, the author is especially grateful to

his family in Saudi Arabia, whose love, care, and worry

will never be forgotten.

Lastly, he wishes to express his appreciation to Mr.

Kent D. Perkins who has tutored him in English and who

has introduced him to certain aspects of American culture

with which he had previously been unacquainted.





ABSTRACT . . ... .. x



Overview of the Problem . .
Development of the Problem 6
Problems in Formulating the Research 9
Limitations of the Study .. 11


When is a Person Old? . 13
The Increasing Number of Aged .. .14
Role Changes and Problems of the Aged 15
Theories of Aging . 15
The Disengagement Theory 16
The Activity Theory .. 19
The Role Theory .. . 20
The Personality Dimension .. .21
Correlates of Life Satisfaction 23
Single-Variable and Multi-Variable
Approaches . 24
Activity vs. Individual Judgement. 25
Factors Associated with Life
Satisfaction . .. 26
Middle-Eastern Studies . 31

Modernization . ... 33
Definition . ... 33
Modernization vs. Modernity ... .34
Studies on Modernity . 36

Aging and Modernization-Modernity 38
Less-developed Countries .. .40
More-developed Countries 44

Summary . . 49


Hypotheses . 52
Experimental .. 52
Statistical .. . 52
Sample . . 53
Data Collection . .. 54
Instrumentation .. . 57
The Correlates of Life Satisfaction
Scale . 57
Neoteric Scale . .. 58



Summary .. . 84
Conclusions .. . 86
Recommendations . .. 87
Specific Recommendations .. 87
General Recommendations 89



NAIRES . . 109

REFERENCES . .. . 118





Table Page

1. Subjects' Level of Education by Sex 55

2. Stepwise Multiple Regression of the Cor-
relates of Life Satisfaction Discriminat-
ors Between Sex Samples ... 63

3. Stepwise Multiple Regression of the Neo-
teric Scale Discriminators Between Sex
Samples. .. . .. 64

4. First Principal Axis Loading for the
Neoteric Scale to Establish Subscale
Scoring . .. 67

5. Stepwise Regression of the Correlates of
Life Satisfaction With the Neoteric Sub-
scale: Males . 70

6. Stepwise Regression of the Correlates of
Life Satisfaction with the Neoteric Sub-
scale: Females . ... .71

7. Regression Equation for the Correlates of
Life Satisfaction With the Neoteric Sub-
scale: Combined Sex Samples .. 74

8. Correlations Between the Neoteric Sub-
scale and the Correlates of Life Satis-
faction for All Samples ... 76

9. Correlation Between the Neoteric Subscale
and the Correlates of Life Satisfaction
for Combined Sex Samples (Ordered by Size
of r) .... . 79

B.1 Rotated Varimax Factor Loadings for the
Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale:
Males. .. . .. 109

B.2 Rotated Varimax Factor Loadings for the
Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale:
Females . . 110


Table Pag

B.3 Rotated Varimax Factor Loadings for the
Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale:
Combined Sexes . 111

B.4 Rotated Varimax Factor Loadings for the
Neoteric Scale: Males . 112

B.5 Rotated Varimax Factor Loadings for the
Neoteric Scale: Females ... 113

B.6 Rotated Varimax Factor Loadings for the
Neoteric Scale: Combined Sexes 114:

B.7 Correlations Between the Neoteric Sub-
scale and the Life Satisfaction Items for
Each Sex Sample Along with Fisher z-
Transformation With t-Ratios for the
Differences . 115

B.8 Means and Standard Deviation of the Cor-
relates of Life Satisfaction Items .
B.9 Means and Standard Deviations for the
Neoteric Scale Items ... 117

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Abdulrahim Houssain Al-Jefri

May 1985

Chairperson: Dr. Hannelore L. Wass
Major Department: Foundations of Education

With such a rapidly changing country as Saudi Arabia

it is necessary to extrapolate from presently expressed

needs to plan for facilities and services for half a cen-

tury from now. The importance of various concepts of

providing life satisfaction for today's aged can be learned

from a survey. The more modern of the respondents can

point out the importance of some of the correlates of life

satisfaction that will need to be incorporated in planning

for the future age of Saudi Arabia.

Two Likert-type questionnaires of 43 items each were

completed by 200 male and 200 female middle-aged Saudi

Arabians. Subjects rated on a five-point scale (Shebani)

how important they perceived the 43 correlates of life

satisfaction would be to the aged.

The second scale was developed to establish a measure

of how modernized each subject was. The instrument, the

Neoteric Scale, provides a 20-item subscale score for each


Tables indicating correlations between the Correlates

of Life Satisfaction items and the Neoteric Subscale are

presented. Of the 43 correlations between the two ques-

tionnaires, 22 were large enough to be significant at the

.05 level and 18 have p's at the .01 level of confidence.

The correlations in the tables show that the more

modern emphasize the importance of

1. using one's mind and having good books;

2. self-concerns dealing with self-understanding,

being respected, and feeling loved;

3. desiring practical advantages and modern con-

venience; and

4. desiring social interaction with more limited

commitment than with family.

Implications of these findings for planning for the

Saudi aged are

1. increasing emphasis on adult education and semi-

academic activities for the aged;

2. provide group support meetings where people can

share their feelings;

3. compensate the aged for loss of family by provid-

ing material convenience; and

4. promote activity groups for the aged.



Overview of the Problem

Adjustment to aging has been extensively studied in

Western countries because there is a great concern among

professionals about the quality of life in later years.

One major aspect of the quality of life is a person's own

perception of his/her life and the degree of satisfaction

experienced. Satisfaction with life in the later years

has been studied extensively. Researchers have found

many important variables related to life satisfaction in

old age. Among these related variables are health, socio-

economic status, sex, age, standard of living, financial

situation, number of activities and social relations.

The identification of such factors will permit creating

the conditions necessary for enhancing the quality of

life of later years.

Unfortunately, little research has been done on the

quality of life and life satisfaction among the elderly

in the Middle East, and none among the elderly in Saudi

Arabia. Cultural differences between Western and Middle

Eastern countries make it inappropriate to transfer to

Saudi Arabia many of the findings and knowledge generated

about the aged, their roles, and status in the United


Shebani's (1984) study of correlates of life satis-

faction among older Libyans and Americans provided evi-

dence of cultural differences between aged Libyans and

aged Americans. These differences reflect two different

general outlooks--the traditional outlook of the Arabs in

terms of the Arabic culture and rapid social change as

compared to the liberal outlook of American subjects in

an established industrialized society.

Advanced societies have also developed various ways

of dealing with the needs of the elderly. Some of these

are nursing homes, convalescent centers, day care cen-

ters, retirement villages, community centers, home ser-

vices, home meal delivery, and special transportation.

All or some of these services may be directly applicable

to Arab countries. However, it is important to determine

empirically which of these services, if any, are indeed

needed in these societies. For example, for the Saudi

elderly it may be inappropriate to adopt all or some of

the services that may be helpful in the United States.

In addition the needs of the elderly may vary among

individuals within a society. It is very important,

therefore, to let the elderly and those nearing old age

define their own needs.

Saudi society is undergoing a very rapid process of

vast technological, cultural, and social change. These

changes already are bringing some tensions in relation to

the role and status of the elderly. Young people are

increasingly turning to Western forms and styles of life,

but many of the older generation have difficulty in

accepting these changes. There already are some feelings

and complaints that the young no longer have the proper

respect for age and the aged.

The number of older people is expected to continue

to increase rapidly over the next few decades in Saudi

Arabia as elsewhere. Increasing proportions of elderly

people threaten to create an imbalance that may lead to

additional tensions and dissatisfactions, both in the old

and the young. "Older persons are characteristically

different from younger persons. Attitudes, values, per-

ceptions, needs, and physical capabilities are different"

(Wass & West, 1977, p. 408). Thus, social planning for

the future care of the aged in this society must recog-

nize the importance of the unique characteristics and

needs of older persons.

Many studies have been done in the area of aging and

modernization (Bengston, Dowd, Smith, & Inkeles, 1975;

Cowgill and Holmes, 1972; Palmore, 1975; Simmons, 1946).

The general conclusion from these is that, with

modernization, the responsibility for providing for the

needs of the aged is shifting from the family to society.

The far-reaching and rapid changes of modern
society have profoundly affected the position
of old people and their ability to deal with
their own problems. They face new problems,
specifically social, as distinct from those
physical or economic, and the solution of these
problems requires new forms of social action.
(Blau, 1973, p. 43)

With increased longevity new problems arise for old per-

sons especially illness, frailty, sensory losses, and

chronic debilitation. Therefore, efforts should be made

to meet their needs through establishing programs and

services, such as health examinations, homes for the

aged, home helpers, recreation, and consultation ser-

vices. Since there have been no studies of the needs and

the effects of modernization on the aged in Saudi Arabia,

the present study was formulated to investigate these


The purpose of the present study was to add to the

body of knowledge about modernization and life satisfac-

tion through examining three issues. First, the study

sought to determine how Saudi Arabians judge the impor-

tance of various correlates of life satisfaction for the

aged. Those who have been involved in the process of

modernization have had an opportunity to learn new ways

of living that can also be satisfying. For instance, the

more modern Saudis have had the opportunity to learn that

socializing with associates in places other than the

mosque can be satisfying. The traditional person has not

had such opportunity to experience these "new ways" so

he/she is not ready to endorse them as suitable to meet

old persons' needs. For example, unlike the traditional

Saudi, the more modernized Saudi may believe that "Having

an Important Job" is more rewarding than living out

his/her retirement years in comfort.

Second, this study sought to determine sex differ-

ences in the effect of modernization and in perceived

correlates of life satisfaction. If such differences

exist and are important, social planners must provide

services that will meet the differing needs of both


Third, this study sought to provide a store of data

about modernization and life satisfaction which Saudi

Arabia presently lacks. Such information should enhance

Saudis' understanding of the needs of the elderly within

their society and facilitate social planning. The depth

of this need for information arises from the fact that

whereas modernization is proceeding rapidly in Saudi

Arabia, individuals vary in their degree of adaptation,

depending on a number of circumstances and conditions.

Thus a wide range of adaptations from traditional to

modern can be found. It can be assumed that judgements

of the more modernized persons would point to the re-

sources required to meet the needs of the aged in the

next generation, hence, the need for such data to guide

social planning.

Development of the Problem

Since the turn of the century, life expectancy has

been increasing in the United States and in other indus-

trial countries as a result of technological changes,

control of communicable disease, improvement in sani-

tation, and rapid advances in medical technology and

care. The world population of those 65 years of age and

older has increased significantly for both developed and

less-developed countries.

Growing old is ultimately experienced by almost

everyone. While it is less difficult for some individ-

uals than for others, it is a natural and inevitable

process. Old age has emerged almost worldwide as

producing social problems. Family relationships in later

life have become a major concern of gerontologists. The

family has been the basic social group to provide

security for the dependent aged. The family is another

important factor in the treatment of the aged. If the

norms of the society specify that the aged are to be

adequately cared for by the extended family, then the

aged stand a better chance of being well-treated and

respected (Crandall, 1980).

On the basis of population estimates for the years

2000, 229 million (58 percent) of those 65 years of age

or older will be in less-developed countries and 167

million (42 percent) will be in developed countries

(U.N., 1980). In spite of this prediction, few studies

have been conducted within these less-developed countries

to identify the personal and social needs of the elderly,

nor have any studies been conducted in Saudi Arabia. The

purpose of the present study was to examine the relation-

ship between modernity and correlates of life satisfac-

tion and to explore some of the needs of the elderly in

Saudi Arabia in order to help government and social

workers to direct their efforts to meet those needs

through planning social programs and services. Since the

roles of the male and female are highly differentiated in

Saudi Arabia, it was necessary to survey each group (sex)

to learn how its members have been affected by the pro-

cess of modernization and their view of correlates of

life satisfaction for the aged. A brief description of

Saudi society and culture is offered below for those who

may be unfamiliar with the Arabic culture.

Saudia Arabia is situated in the Southwest part of

Asia. It occupies the major part of the Arabian penin-

sula, having an area of 2,240,000 square kilometers, and

a population of 8,200,000. It is bordered on the north

by Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait; on the east by the Arabian

Gulf and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen; and

on the west by the Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia has underway the most expensive and

ambitious development plans in history in comparison to

the other Arab countries. Oil exploration and export

have provided a better standard of living and an increase

in the economic level of Saudi citizens. Planned devel-

opment has been carried out in this country since 1970,

with a five-year plan for the periods 1970-1975, 1975-

1980, and 1980-1985. One of the development goals is that

"social services will be developed to ensure that every

group and individual enjoys an adequate, dignified min-

imum standard of living; levels above this minimum will

continue to be the reward of individual effort and

achievement" (Tihama, 1975, p. 3).

The government is attempting to create a modern and

powerful country without sacrificing religious and social

values. The country is changing from a rural, semi-

agricultural nation to one in which technology and indus-

try influence nearly every aspect of life. As a result

the Saudi elderly have seen a phenomenal degree of change

in their lifetime that will greatly and gradually affect

them as individuals. Youna Saudis have become more inde-

pendent of their parents, brothers and sisters. The

young Saudi family is becoming increasingly more physi-

cally distant from relatives. Rapid urbanization opened

up many new jobs in the cities, and many young people

migrated from rural areas in search of better and higher

standards of living than they had known on the farm

(village). As a result, the aged in Saudi Arabia are

becoming increasingly disassociated. This is similar to

what has occurred in other less-developed societies.

Maldonado (1977) discussed the effect of the physical and

social mobility of the Mexican-American children on their

aged parents.

Rapid and dramatic changes for the young
have often placed the elderly in an awkward
and difficult position. Their social envi-
ronment has completely changed within their
lifetime. Although they were reared within
one culture, they now find themselves in a
situation for which their early socializa-
tion did not prepare them.(Maldonado, 1977,
p. 42)

Care of the aging has not yet become a serious

social problem in Saudi Arabia, but it will increasingly

be a problem of the future, which demands attention now.

Problems in Formulating the Research

Several problems were recognized in formulating this

research. First, while quite a lot has been published on

the problems and needs of the aged in Western societies,

there has been very little research in this area in the

non-Western countries. What has been written or uncov-

ered by research based on Western culture does not gener-

alize readily to non-Western cultures.

Second, the absence of reported research, in Arab

countries particularly, on modernization and life satis-

faction means that methods and techniques for assessment

of such areas must be developed, taking cultural aspects

into consideration.

Finally, there is the problem of lower literacy

levels and the pride that manifests itself in reluctance

to expose one's limited background of formal education.

Also some subjects with sensory reception defects are not

likely to expose their weaknesses.

The present investigation was exploratory. The

primary objective of this study was to examine how Saudis

involved in the process of modernization will judge the

importance of various correlates of life satisfaction for

the aged in Saudi Arabia and to determine if any sex

differences exist. A second objective was to serve as an

impetus for other studies in Saudi Arabia in the area of

modernization and life satisfaction. In order to meet

these objectives the following four questions were formu-


1. Will the more modern Saudi Arabian males judge the

importance of correlates of life satisfaction for

the aged differently from the less modern males?

2. Will the more modern Saudi Arabian females judge the

importance of correlates of life satisfaction for

the aged differently from the less modern females?

3. Could contrasting importance given certain corre-

lates of life satisfaction for the aged by the Saudi

Arabian males with greater modernity offer foci for

social planning to meet the needs of the next gener-

ation of aged males?

4. Could contrasting importance given certain corre-

lates of life satisfaction for the aged by the Saudi

Arabian females with greater modernity offer foci

for social planning to meet the needs of the next

generation of aged females?

Limitations of the Study

Many limitations are inherent in the design of this

study. The sample that was used was not randomly drawn

from the whole population; thus, it would be difficult

and inappropriate to generalize the findings to the whole


Another significant limitation is the lack of schol-

arly research on aging in Saudi Arabia, and consequently

the inability to provide empirical linkage for this

study. Aside from a dearth of knowledge, there is little

opportunity to find suitable instruments that have estab-

lished psychometric reliability and validity. Question-

naires used in the West contain some items that are not

readily applicable or are inappropriate for the Middle

East. For example, questions about sexual behavior,

dating, politics, and religion are difficult to ask in

Saudi Arabia. Many people would think that such kinds of

questions violate their privacy or are offensive for

other reasons and would refuse to respond to the ques-

tionnaire. Another limitation concerns the perceptions

of the people who were asked to participate in the study.

Because it explores a new area, people may have failed to

see its relevance and significance and, hence, failed to

cooperate. Because some of the subjects could not read

and write, it became the responsibility of the student

administering the questionnaires to assist the subjects

in recording the answers. This may have led to two types

of difficulty. The subjects may have falsified the an-

swers to keep the assistant from knowing what they be-

lieve. The second difficulty concerns the student admin-

istrators. It was possible that their own opinions may

have partially influenced their explanations of the

items, thereby producing a slight bias in a respondent's



Aging is a normal phenomenon, part of the sequence

of events in the total life cycle. Gerontology--the most

recent of the social sciences--is the study of aging as a

process and of the aged as a social group. Growing old

is usually associated with the loss of energy, physical

mobility, memory, creativity and some other abilities.

When Is a Person Old?

The general population's concept of old age is re-

lated to the degree of modernization of society. A

person is classified as old at an earlier age in pre-

literate society than in modern society. The age at

which a person is considered old varies from country to

country. For example, 55 is considered the official

beginning of old age in India. In the African countries,

the chronological age at the beginning of old age can

only be estimated, since the beginning of this period of

life in those countries is determined by changes of

status or function, not by the calendar. However, it

appears that onset of old age among the Igbo occurs

somewhere between 40-50, and among the Sidamo at about

55. In Samoa the age is 50 and it shades up to 60 in

Thailand and Japan. In the Western modernized countries

it is 65 to 70 (Cowgill & Holmes, 1972).

The Increasing Number of Aged

The number of the aged in the world is increasing

rapidly. The world population of those 65 years of age

and older has significantly increased for both developed

and less-developed countries, reaching 129 million in

less-developed countries in 1980. This equalled the

number of elderly in developed countries. An estimation

of the older population for the year 2000 predicted 58

percent (229 million) in less-developed countries, and 42

percent (167 million) in developed countries (U.N.,

1980). Life expectancy has vastly increased for the

elderly population and the problems older adults experi-

ence; efforts should be increased to meet their needs.

It is good that old people are living longer
and suffering less from poverty and illness
than they once did, but if they are not enjoy-
ing their lives, they have not gained a great
deal. By giving people more years that can be
enjoyed, the practices that have helped to
solve one problem have made another more cru-
cial. (Skinner & Vaughan, 1983, p. 20)

Role Changes and Problems of the Aged

As people grow older, they often undergo changes.

One of the most undesired changes in this period is

dependency--the shift from being an independent adult to

being dependent.

Dependency is the harder to accept because of
the changes it brings in other roles. For
example, older people are sometimes forced by
necessity to fall back on the children. A
strong desire for independence has been found
to be typical of older people. Sometimes this
motivation comes from the pride of being self-
sufficient, sometimes from a desire to avoid
burdening others, and sometimes from a fear and
mistrust of others. (Atchley, 1980, p. 108)

Housing is another element crucial to independence. An

individual in his/her own household has much more privacy

and freedom of choice than if living with others--chil-

dren or relatives. Some other problems of the aged are

poor health, loneliness, not feeling needed, inadequate

income, compulsory poor housing, and lack of conditions

for keeping busy.

Theories of Aging

The many changes brought by aging require adjustment

on the part of the individual. There are many different

ways in which people make these adjustments.

During the past two decades intensive research has

been conducted concerning the biological, psychological,

and sociological correlates of life satisfaction among

the elderly. There are a number of frames of reference

that have been developed and used by gerontologists in

their efforts to understand and explain the complexities

of the aging process and to help predict individual

behavior in later adulthood. Two major theories that are

concerned primarily with adaptive processes in aging

individuals are the disengagement theory and the activity


The Disengagement Theory

The disengagement theory was originally developed by

Cumming and Henry (1961) based on a cross-sectional anal-

ysis of a large sample of aging people, ranging in age

from 50 to 90 who were physically and financially self-

sufficient and who participated in a series of studies in

Kansas City. Contrary to traditional belief that society

rejects the elderly, Cumming and Henry proposed that the

elderly voluntarily separate themselves from society.

According to this theory of aging, there is a mutual

withdrawal resulting in decreased interaction between the

aging person and others in the mainstream of society.

Cumming and Henry considered this process as inevitable

and universal. Withdrawal of the individual from society

is voluntary, desirable and beneficial for both the indi-

vidual and society. For society it is important to draw

in new and younger people to replace the aged persons.

For old individuals it is helpful in allowing them to

avoid pressures, a change consonant with lower levels of

energy, stamina, and acuity that are characteristic of

aging. The theory asserts that the aging individual will

function better with decreased activity levels and actual

withdrawal since his or her social needs also diminish.

According to the theory, withdrawal is very important in

conserving the elderly's dwindling energy, and this is

conducive to greater physical and psychological well-


Other researchers have argued against the disengage-

ment theory, especially the postulate that disengagement

is positively related to psychological well-being and

high morale. Critics contend that the more engaged the

individual is, the higher the level or degree of psycho-

logical well-being he exhibits.

A second criticism of the disengagement theory is

that many of the aged do, in fact, not disengage and

withdraw but rather seek and are happy with social inter-

action. Using the data of Cumming and Henry (1961),

Havighurst, Neugarten, and Tobin (1968) concluded that

decreased interaction and activity on the part of the

individual are not a mutual process between the elderly

and society and are neither natural, beneficial nor de-

sirable for both the individual and society. Disengage-

ment was a result of decreased opportunities for partic-

ipation, rather than a desire to be disengaged.

Other opponents of the disengagement theory argue

that it focuses mainly on the quantity of social rela-

tionships in which the individual is involved and not

their quality. Many elderly maintain those activities

that they feel are useful for them and eliminate others

they feel are less functional. Streib and Schneider

(1971) suggested that people deal with declining capac-

ities by differential disengagement, withdrawing from

some activities in order to increase, maintain, or min-

imize the decline of involvement in other activities.

Maddox (1964) has argued that the research procedure for

testing the implications of the disengagement theory must

involve longitudinal research, so each subject will serve

as his own control. Such a procedure would help to test

the relevance of such variables as personality type and


A number of other studies have found little or no

support for the disengagement theory. Those who defend

that theory believe that life satisfaction is associated

with the decrease in the importance and the number of

roles by the aged. "The disengagement of the elderly

comes gradually. With the increase of age both the

number and intensity of roles decline" (Crandall, 1980,

p. 75). Palmore (1975) concluded that disengaged indi-

viduals tend to be unhappier, lonelier, sicker, and die

sooner than more active individuals.

The Activity Theory

The activity theory, in direct contrast to the dis-

engagement theory, asserts that psychological adjustment

to aging, happiness, and life satisfaction are closely

linked with being active. The activity theory is now the

prevalent one and is supported empirically by numerous

research findings. Neugarten and Hagestad (1976) con-

cluded that if an individual has been active, involved,

and satisfied through life, and if continued opportu-

nities are provided by society for similar involvement,

the result is a high degree of life satisfaction. Tobin

and Neugarten (1961), in their study of life satisfaction

and social interaction among the aged, noticed a positive

relationship between life satisfaction and social inter-

action for all ages included in the study (50-70 and 70-

80). These relationships increased with advanced age

rather than decreased. They state: "It appears that

with advancing age, engagement, rather than disengage-

ment, is more closely related to psychological well-

being" (p. 346). Lemon, Bengston, and Peterson (1972),

in their study of the type of social activity and life

satisfaction among the inmovers to a retirement commu-

nity, concluded that there is a significant relationship

between social activity and life satisfaction. Brown

(1974) studied three types of social activity: extended

family relations, personal friendships, and group rela-

tions. His findings showed that having and maintaining

relationships with family and friends is very important

to the elderly person. When the elderly individual is

not completely satisfied with the types of social activ-

ity available, he or she voluntarily withdraws from them

and substitutes other contacts.

The Role Theory

Another less prominent theory, the role theory,

offers a frame of reference through which to study life-

satisfaction, as old age is often the basis for changing

and eliminating some of the roles enacted by individuals.

The roots of the role theory go back to early sociol-

ogists such as C.H. Coolry, W.I. Thomas, and G.H. Mead.

Every individual in any society has a certain position or

a certain status. According to the role theory old age

is described as a time when a number of roles are termi-

nated and when substitute roles must be found (Blau,

1973). The most important objective is finding those

substitute roles. Some gerontologists believe that the

more roles or relationships that an individual loses and

does not or cannot replace, the greater the drop in the

level of life satisfaction (Crandall, 1980). Hendricks

and Hendricks (1977) noticed that

men, because of the instrumental nature
of the roles with which they have primarily
identified, will experience a drastic early
constriction and identity crisis following
retirement. In comparison, women, who have
traditionally had ready access to socioemo-
tional roles not as immediately subject to age-
grading and organizational imperatives, encoun-
ter relatively fewer stresses. (p. 108)

Older people must adjust to conditions that are not

characteristic of other stages of life such as increase

of illness, retirement, withdrawal from active community

associations, loss of a spouse, physical distance from

children, and loss of independence. The most important

thing for the individual's adjustment to losses is find-

ing new interests.

The Personality Dimension

All of these theories, disengagement, activity, and

role exit, describe changes and adjustments that take

place in the later years of life. All of these theories

have limitations. Neither major theory is concerned with

or accounts for the relationship extant between aging and

some other factors such as personality, psychological

well-being, and social or cultural norms. Havighurst

(1968), in his study of personality and aging, concluded

that the personality dimension is very important in un-

derstanding and describing the relationships between

level of activity and life satisfaction. In his opinion,

both theories, disengagement and activity, do not predict

and explain in a satisfactory way the phenomenon of

successful aging. "The relationships between levels of

activity and life satisfaction are influenced also by

personality type, particularly by the extent to which the

individual remains able to integrate emotional and ra-

tional elements of personality" (p.22). Richard, Liv-

son, and Peterson (1962), Havighurst, Neugarten and Tobin

(1968), and Streib (1971) studied individual variation.

They concluded that successful aging is primarily depen-

dent upon the individual's personality.

In general, many elderly maintain those activities

that they feel are useful for them and eliminate others

they feel are less functional. It is inappropriate to

evaluate and determine which theory, if any, is superior,

because each individual ages in a manner unique to him or

herself, and influenced by his or her needs, values and

cultural norms. Maddox (1968) and Neugarten (1965) be-

lieve that it is undesirable to state that the activity

theory is the most desirable way of adjusting to old age.

Many older people find their happiness without staying

active. Such persons are happily involved in personal

interests, without much social interaction, throughout

their lives. A pilot study by Havighurst, Munnichs, Neu-

garten, and Thomae (1969) on patterns of role activity

and life satisfaction for 50 men aged 70-75 in six cities

(Bonn, Chicago, Milan, Nijmegen, Vienna, and Warsaw) led

to the conclusion that patterns of role behavior varied

systematically by city of residence and by former occupa-

tion. Also, they noticed that differences in cultural

traditions and value systems, even in industrialized

centers in modern Western societies, produce different

patterns of social interaction among the aged.

Correlates of Life-Satisfaction

A great deal of interest has arisen among social

workers, government officials, and researchers toward the

vicissitudes of later life. One of the measures of

adjustment to aging is life satisfaction. Lemon, Beng-

ston, and Peterson (1972) described life satisfaction as

"the degree to which one is presently content or pleased

with his or her general situation" (p. 513). There has

been considerable research in this area in recent years.

Much of the current research involves relating
some aspects) of the individual's social envi-
ronment to some measure of morale, satisfaction
with life as a whole, or some facet of life
satisfaction, e.g., marital satisfaction. Sat-
isfaction with life is generally recognized to
be an important component in determining mental
health. For this reason, researchers have long
searched for correlates related to satisfaction
with life. (Medley, 1976, p. 448)

Some of these correlates are sex, age, socioeconomic

status (SES), good health, happy home life, income, occu-

pation, and social participation.

Single-Variable and Multi-Variable Approaches

Different approaches have been used to evaluate the

level of an individual's satisfaction. Some studies

involve correlation with single variables--health (Sni-

der, 1980); social interaction (Conner, Powers, & Bul-

tena, 1979); transportation (Holley, 1978); housing

(Carp, 1968); urban-rural dwelling (Sauer, Shehan, &

Baymel, 1976); and religiosity (Markides, 1983).

Other studies used more than one variable to predict

the level of satisfaction. Among these are high job

morale, good health, a happy home life, and good personal

relationships (Watson, 1930); self-rated health, number

of organizational activities, and the internal control

orientation (Palmore & Luikart, 1972); satisfaction with

family life, satisfaction with standard of living, finan-

cial situation and health satisfaction (Medley, 1976);

social relations, health, and socioeconomic status

(Adams, 1971); and rural-urban residence and race (Don-

nenwerth, Guy, & Norvell, 1978). The researchers have

faced the problem of using an operational definition of

successful aging. Consequently, different terms have

been used (such as adjustment, competence, morale, or

happiness); and different techniques of measurement have

been employed.

Activity vs. Individual Judgement

There have been two other points of view on measur-

ing and studying life satisfaction. One focuses upon the

extent of external activity of the individual. In line

with this, Havighurst and Albrecht (1953) developed a

scale to measure the acceptability of the older person's

behavior. Also, an activity score schedule was developed

by Cavan Burgess, Havighurst, and Holdhamer (1949) and

Havighurst and Albrecht (1953).

The other point of view focuses upon the individ-

ual's internal judgement. The individual is the only

judge of his or her satisfaction, so that the value

judgement of the investigator (as in the first point of

view) is minimized.

Another measure that combines elements of both ap-

proaches was established to eliminate the problems of

instrumentation. This measure combines social criteria

of satisfaction (external activity) with internal frame

of reference (individual judgement). An example is the

Chicago Attitude Inventory (Cavan et al., 1949; Havig-

hurst, 1957). This inventory emphasizes both the indi-

vidual's feelings of satisfaction and level of activity.

Solamon and Conte (1981) developed a multifactor scale to

measure life satisfaction, the Solamon-Conte Life Satis-

faction in the Elderly Scale (SCLSES). They examined the

influence of eight factors: pleasure with daily activ-

ity, meaningfulness of life, goodness of fit between

desired and achieved goals, mood, love, self-concept,

financial security, perceived health, and social contact.

Factors Associated with Life Satisfaction

Palmore and Luikart (1972) concluded from their

research that there are many variables related to life

satisfaction: self-rated health, number of organiza-

tional activities, and the internal control orientation.

Medley (1976) concluded from his research with persons 65

years and older, that many variables operate in predict-

ing life satisfaction. Those variables are satisfaction

with family life, satisfaction with standard of living,

financial situation and health satisfaction. Also he

identified differences in the importance of those vari-

ables between sexes. Donnenwerth, Guy, and Norvell

(1978), in their study of the effects of rural-urban

residence and race on life satisfaction, found higher

satisfaction among urban whites versus rural whites, and

higher life satisfaction among rural blacks versus urban

blacks. In their opinion, the difference in social con-

tact and income were behind these differences.

Adams (1971), in his study of life satisfaction

among the elderly, concluded that social relations,

health, and socio-economic status have a positive rela-

tionship. Conner, Powers, and Bultena (1979), in their

research on social interaction and life satisfaction,

found that the quality of interaction affects the life of

the elderly more importantly than both the number of

people interacted with, and the frequency of this inter-

action. "Attention should be shifted from questions of

'how many' and 'how often' to the meaning of social

relationships and the interactional process" (p. 120).

Palmore and Kivett (1977), in their study on changes in

life satisfaction over a four-year period, concluded that

on the average, for age and sex, there were no signif-

icant differences, but there were some individuals who

showed substantial changes in their life satisfaction.

There were three predictor variables: self-rated health,

sexual enjoyment, and social activity hours.

Dickie, Ludwig, and Blauw (1979), who had as sub-

jects institutionalized and non-institutionalized older

adults, studied the relationship between life

satisfaction, several measures of health, several mea-

sures of activity level, and a measure of future orienta-

tion. The results showed a significant relationship

between health status and life satisfaction; also they

showed a positive correlation between planning for the

future and life satisfaction. The most interesting find-

ing was that the institutionalized subjects did not show

lower life satisfaction than did the non-institutional-

ized group. Because the institutionalized subjects re-

ported lower levels of activity and fewer plans for the

future, it had been expected that they would show a lower

level of life satisfaction. The researchers think that

the key behind that is that the two groups did not differ

in self-rated health status.

Tobin and Neugarten (1961) concluded that Interac-

tion Index, Social Life Space, and Role Count are pos-

itively related to life satisfaction. This positive

association between social interaction and life satisfac-

tion increases with advanced age. Larson (1978) con-

cluded that health, socioeconomic status, and degree of

social interaction are strongly related to the subjective

well being. Larson (1978), who reviewed 30 years of life

satisfaction research, concluded that subjective well-

being is most strongly related to health, socioeconomic

factors, and the degree of social interaction. Edwards

and Klemmack (1973) concluded that socioeconomic status

(SES), health, and contact with the working world through

informal participation are very important variables on

the degree of life satisfaction. McClelland (1982), in

his study of self-concept and life satisfaction, con-

cluded that self-concept is an important intervening

variable between social activity and life satisfaction.

Kozma and Stones (1983) studied the temporal stability of

happiness in three subgroups of persons over 64 years of

age. Respondents were interviewed twice at intervals of

18 months. Ten factors were examined: age, happiness,

activity, housing satisfaction, health, financial satis-

faction, marital status, locus of control, life events,

and socioeconomic status. Findings showed a high degree

of consistency among urban and institutionalized sub-

jects. Housing satisfaction, health, activities, and

changes in life events were the main independent predic-

tors of happiness among these subjects. For rural indi-

viduals health and marital status were the only consis-

tent predictors.

Liang, Dvorkin, Kahana, and Mazian (1980) concluded

that the "relationship between objective aspects of so-

cial integration and morale is mediated by an individ-

ual's subjective sense of integration" (p. 746). The

findings showed an indirect relationship between these

elements. The relationship remained significant, even

when some other factors were controlled, such as health,

socioeconomic status, and financial satisfaction.

Kushman and Lane (1980) presented data from a multi-

variate analysis of factors affecting life satisfaction

and psychological well-being among the elderly. Those

results showed that income is positively related to psy-

chological well-being or satisfaction only for respon-

dents who live as a married couple without children or

others. Poor health showed a significant negative rela-

tionship to satisfaction, but not well-being. Living

with other persons had a positive influence on perceived

life satisfaction, but not on psychological well-being.

For males, the "employed" status showed a significant

positive relationship to psychological well-being and the

"involuntarily unemployed" status showed a significant

negative relationship to life satisfaction. Work status

for females showed a negative relationship. Some studies

compared life satisfaction between aged men and aged

women. Most of these studies found no significant dif-

ferences between the two sexes (Kutner, Faushel, Togo, &

Langer, 1956; Lawton, 1972; Neugarten, Havighurst, &

Tobin, 1961; Palmore & Kivett, 1977). However, Spreitzer

and Snyder (1974), in their study of correlates of life-

satisfaction among the aged, found an interesting inter-

action between age, sex, and life satisfaction. Women

showed higher rates of the life satisfaction than men up

to age 65. After age 65 men were likely to show a higher

level of life satisfaction. A recent study by Kimmel

(1979) emphasized the effect of sex as a variable on life

satisfaction. He also speculated upon the validity of

applying the research and theories from findings primar-

ily on men directly to women.

Comprehensive summaries of findings on correlates of

life satisfaction among the aged are given by Adams

(1971) and by Shebani (1984).

Middle-Eastern Studies

The main concern of this dissertation is the rela-

tionship between modernization (modernity) and correlates

of life satisfaction. It is therefore necessary to be

familiar with the gerontological studies concerning life

satisfaction in the Middle East and at the same time

identify phases for further study.

Dajani (1973) conducted a study in different areas

of Lebanon, being interested in the relationships among

media exposure, mobility, literacy, and political partic-

ipation. Three different age groups were studied: teen-

agers, individuals between 22 and 35 years, and those 38

years old and older. The findings showed that the older

subjects had more freedom, were more exposed to the

media, and more mobile than the other age groups.

McCabe (1979) conducted an anthropological investi-

gation of the status of aging women in the Middle East.

For each subject the researcher examined the life stages

of females by using the methods of participant observa-

tion. An interview and (Cantril's) Self-Anchoring Striv-

ing Scale (to assess life satisfaction) were employed.

McCabe concluded that the rural Lebanese woman is more

powerful and dominant than the Lebanese man throughout

her life, but increasingly with age. He also concluded

that women in late middle-age--in the village where the

study was conducted--experience greater life satisfaction

than men. Siassi and Fozouni (1982) conducted a study in

Iran concerning the relationship between aging and psy-

chiatric distress levels among old and young populations.

Findings showed that the elderly use the available psy-

chiatric and drug abuse services much less frequently

than the younger population. In Iraq Al-Hilali (1982)

interviewed both the aged and the officials about avail-

able social services for the aged. He concluded from

those interviews that it is important to start planning

to develop homes for the aged in all areas of Iraq.

Girgis (1983) undertook a study of the problems of

the elderly living in Cairo, Egypt. In previous studies

she had found that high numbers of older persons had no

family member to care for them. Many of these persons

were interested in living in institutions for the

elderly, but these institutions had long waiting lists.

The current number of homes is 34, to serve over one

million persons 65 years of age and over. An increase of

94% of the group of persons age 60 and older is expected

between the years 1980 and 2000. In this study, the

elderly respondents recommended building more retirement

homes, which indicates the insecurity that the elderly

are facing and experiencing.

Shebani (1984) studied correlates of life satisfac-

tion among older Libyans and Americans. Results showed

that the differences between cultures in subjects' re-

sponses were significant. The most interesting fact

emerging from this study is the inapplicability of cross-

cultural generalization of research findings.


Modernization is a word that has been used widely

for some time to characterize those changes that have

been taking place among non-Western peoples during the

nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


People everywhere are subject to, and many are ac-

tively participating in, this significant process of so-

cial change. Modernization is generally expressed in

terms of socio-economic development--increased literacy,

greater industrialization and urbanization, higher living

standards, and so forth. At a conceptual level social

scientists tend to define modernization in terms of se-

lected sociodemographic or psychological indices. For

example, Attir, (1981) defined modernization in terms of

"social modernization," the "process in which major clus-

ters of old social commitments are eroded and broken and

people become more available for new patterns of social-

ization and behavior" (Attir, 1981, p. 340). O'Connell

(1976) defined modernization as "the process through

which a traditional or pretechnological society passes as

it is transformed into a society characterized by machine

technology, rational and secular attitudes, and highly

differentiated social structures" (p. 15). Salem (1973)

described modernization as "the process by which a coun-

try adapts, transforms, or replaces its traditional in-

stitutions and patterns of life under the influence of

the new science and technology that arose during the

Renaissance in Western Europe and has since spread

throughout the world" (p. 2).

Modernization vs. Modernity

Most of the research work in modernization is con-

cerned with the institutional level. A minority of work,

however, has been concerned with the place of individuals

in the process of modernization.

Smith and Inkeles (1966) applied the term modernity

to individuals. "Modernity refers to a set of attitudes,

values, and ways of feeling and acting, presumably of the

sort either generated by or required for effective par-

ticipation in a modern society" (p. 353). Inkeles and

Contributors (1983) in their study of modernization,

modernity and aging, distinguished between two concepts:

the term modernization should be conceived as a societal

or macrosocial process, whereas modernity here refers to

properties of individuals within societies regardless of

the degree of modernization of those societies. Inkeles

and Smith (1974) described the "modern man" as an in-

formed participant citizen; he has a marked sense of

personal efficiency; he is highly independent and auton-

omous in his relation to traditional sources of influ-

ence. He is ready for new experiences and ideas; that

is, he is relatively open-minded and cognitively flex-

ible. Porter (1973) examined the relationships between

modernity and national development. He defined modernity

as "a consistent set of orientations characterized inter-

nally by a certain mental flexibility in dealing with new

situations and externally by a similarity of behavior

patterns dominated in urban-industrial societies. .

Thus modernity is a coherent syndrome dictated by the

inner structure of personality in response to structural

forces" (p. 249).

Studies on Modernity

Sack (1973) conducted a study on the impact of

education on individual modernity in Tunisia. Three

variables had the highest relationship to modernity:

quantity of formal schooling, foreign experience, and

exposure to the mass media. Klineberg (1973), in his

investigation of sex differences in the attitudinal de-

velopments of Tunisian adolescents, concluded that for

the male sample, education, household possessions and age

made significant contributions to "attitudinal moder-

nity." For the female sample, only household possessions

were significant predictors of the women's modernity

score. According to Klineberg, the modernization process

brought psychological changes in attitudes, values, and

behavior patterns on the part of individuals exposed to

them. The major components of modernity are openness to

new experience, political participation, reliance on the

mass media for information, independence from traditional

kinship roles and obligations, personal efficacy and

planning for the future.

Suzman (1973), in his study of psychological moder-

nity, concluded that

Modern individuals were found to be effica-
cious, to have a strong sense of control over
their lives, to take moderate risks, to be
adaptable and flexible, and to be well in-
formed, and to score high on measures of intel-
lectual functioning. Those who were modern in

their outlook were shown to be compulsive and
obsessive rather than impulsive, to think an-
alytically, and to be more abstract in their
thought. Modern individuals were found to be
field-independent and to have higher levels of
ego development than traditional individuals.
(p. 280)

Armer and Youtz (1971) studied the effect of formal

education on individual modernity in Kano, Nigeria. They

found that education has a definite influence on values

and leads to modernization of perspectives in certain

areas (independence from family, futurism), while it has

little or irregular influence on other perspectives (wom-

en's equality, secularism, receptivity to change). In-

keles (1969) and Smith and Inkeles (1975) examined the

effect of individual modernizing experiences on the over-

all psychosocial modernity. Those modernizing experi-

ences are higher parental educational levels, more for-

mal education, more mass media exposure, higher living

standards, and more urban and industrial experience. The

study was conducted on approximately 5,500 men from six

developing countries in Latin America, Asia, the Middle

East and Africa. The findings showed association between

the Overall Modernity scores (OM) and those modernizing

experiences. One of the most important implications of

this study is that the results validate the OM Scales for

use in cross-cultural research.

From the previous discussion of the two concepts,

"modernization" and "modernity," the present researcher

decided that the concept "modernity" is more related to

the purpose of his study and to the nature of the find-

ings. This will be amplified in the subsequent chapter

together with an explanation of the scale used to measure

it in this research.

Aging and Modernization-Modernity

It has often been suggested that the status of the

aged declines with societal modernization. Many studies

investigated the association between modernization and

the status of the aged (Bengston et al., 1975; Cowgill &

Holmes, 1972; Palmore, 1975; Simmons, 1946). Those

studies concluded that the status of the aged declines

with a transition from a "traditional" to a "modern" or

from an "agricultural" to an "industrialized" social


Factors of modernization have increased the propor-

tion of older people in the population and at the same

time contributed to decline in their status in society.

Those expanding factors are education, modern health

care, technology, and urbanization (Cowgill & Holmes,


Palmore and Manton (1976) concluded that, while the

absolute level of satisfaction and security of the aged

have improved in modern society, the status and satisfac-

tion of most aged relatives of younger persons have

tended to decline in industrial societies. The variables

contributing to the decline are decreased importance of

the extended family, decreased importance of land as a

source of income, high rate of geographical mobility,

rapidly changing technology, and rapidly changing social

structure and cultural values. Burger (1960) indicated

that the most significant effect of industrialization has

been on the family's loss of its historic functions, a

loss which has affected elderly family members most se-


Quadango (1980) stated that "Changes in agriculture

destroyed the family as the unit of production and made

the larger family a burden rather than an asset. This in

turn meant the aged were no longer part of a three-

generation rural household, a previous source of great

personal satisfaction" (p. 12). On the other hand,

Shanas (1970) argued that old people have not become

physically and socially isolated from children and other

relatives as a result of industrialization. Rather they

form part of an extensive kinship network and interact

often with children and grandchildren, brothers and sis-

ters. The isolated nuclear family, according to Shanas,

is merely a myth.

Less-Developed Countries

In all of the African societies studied, growing old

is equated with rising status and increased respect. In

the society of the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria, the

old persons are assumed to be wise; this not only brings

them respect, since they are consulted for their wisdom,

it also provides them with a valued role in society.

"The Sidamo of Southwest Ethiopia conceive of power in

terms of control over land and cattle" (Hamer, 1972, p.

15). Both sexes are honored in old age, and old age is

highly esteemed, but there is a clear separation between

the sexes as to prestige. The Bantu elder is the "father

of his people." The highly privileged position of the

aged in Bantu societies rests upon centuries of customs

which made every functional aspect of culture fall under

the domination of the elders. Bantu younger generations

learned to perceive experience in terms defined by their

seniors. Their concepts were borrowed from the older

generation. They deferred in their decision-making to

the will of the group as expressed by the eldest respon-

sible male in their family. Bantu culture persists and

the elderly have maximum security, but social and cul-

tural change threaten this favored status, particularly

where there has been effective industrialization, educa-

tion, and indoctrination into the ways of non-African

peoples (Fuller, 1972).

In India the elderly persons will be cared for by

their grown children. In the absence of other forms of

provision for old age security, a high value is placed on

having children, particularly males (Vatuk, 1980). The

young men remain in the household of their parents after

marriage, their wives joining them in taking care of the

aged in-laws when this becomes necessary. There is a

cultural emphasis on the duty of sons and their wives to

take care of elderly parents. In Thailand old age begins

at 60. Old age confers status and older people are in

general revered and honored. In public gatherings, old

people have the seats of honor, up front. In the home,

they occupy the honored seats, usually the farthest away

from the door. In a parade, the elders lead; at a family

meal, they are the first to be fed (Cowgill & Holmes,


In Polynesian society the unit of kinship is the

extended family, a group of relatives from both the

husband's and the wife's sides. The extended family

consists of a man, his wife, their children and perhaps

other attached kinsmen. The infirm aged are cared for

with matter-of-fact kindness within the family, mostly by

women and older children (Maxwell, 1970). In rural Mex-

ico in the traditional culture of the Pima Indians, older

people get respect and affection from the younger and

from society.

As in other Asian countries, the Chinese family in

Hong Kong remains the most fundamental unit in society.

It continues to perform many of its traditional func-

tions, such as rearing the young and caring for the old,

although the extent of both has been lessened consider-

ably by the process of modernization and industrializa-

tion (Wong, 1975). In his study of the Chinese family

and support of the elderly in Hong Kong, Chow (1983)


The worry that the provision of social welfare
services would accelerate the breakdown of the
natural or traditional sense of responsibility
was unfounded since social services of the
elderly had not yet been provided on a large
scale at a time when more and more families
were already finding it difficult to take care
of their elderly members. Evidence of that
difficulty could be found in the increasing
demand for beds in homes for the aged. (p. 584)

Ikles (1975 and 1980) noticed about the aged in Hong Kong

that young people are no longer so dependent on their

parents' land. The opportunities for employment have

lessened the sense of obligation a young person felt

toward his elders.

In Egypt, society is still basically traditional.

The family is still considered the most impor-
tant institution for the care of the elderly,
and the elderly still retain to a great extent
their dignity and respect. The basic emotional
ties between adult children and their elderly
parents are still strong. In the majority of

the cases, children are aware of their respon-
sibility towards their elderly parents and
fulfill as much as possible their financial
obligation towards them. Children are unable
to give their parents the care they need, how-
ever, especially from the standpoint of compan-
ionship and emotional involvement, due to the
life of continuous struggle that they are lead-
ing. In the last two decades, the family in
Egypt, especially in urban areas, has become
unable to take care of its elderly members.
(Girgis, 1983, p. 589)

In Poland the family is considered the traditional

support structure. The members feel morally obliged for

providing care and emotional sustenance for its elderly


In rural areas, where traditional family forms
prevail, all generations usually live under one
roof. Nevertheless problems of the family are
often analyzed from the standpoint of the urban
family, whose style of working and living has
changed considerably from the traditional one
S. the demand for social care of the old is
also an indirect consequence of changes in the
family such as the labor force participation of
women, reduced number of children, and migra-
tion of young people to cities. (Kardas, 1983,
p. 593)

Bengston et al. (1975) studied the association be-

tween modernization or modernity and negative attitudes

toward aging in some developing countries such as Ban-

gladesh, India, Nigeria, Chile and Argentina. His

findings showed that modernization results in negative

perceptions of aging and diminished value attributed to

the aged.

Goldstein and Beal (1982) examined how the process

of modernization can have a negative impact on the el-

derly in a rural Third World setting (Helambu, a remote

rural area in the Nepal Himalayas). They noticed that

the elderly are not happy and satisfied with their situa-

tion. A large number of elderly are living alone of

necessity. Massive emigration to India affected the

extended family structure. Another reason is that moder-

nization in India has changed household family organiza-

tion in Helambu and produced dissatisfaction among el-


More-Developed Countries

In the traditional Japanese culture, the elderly

were accorded the highest status and respect. The main

and most important source of support for the elderly in

Japan is the family. Palmore (1975) noticed in his study

of the status and integration of the aged in Japanese

society that respect for the aged remains relatively

high, and the aged are more integrated into the family,

the work force, and the community than in other modern

nations. A high percentage of Japanese aged 65 or more

live with their children. For those older Japanese who

are not with their children, most live with other rela-

tives and some with non-relatives. Most of the Japanese

elders are continuing to perform important functions in

the household.

Several factors have contributed to the de-
creased capability of families to care for aged
parents. First, the sons of a large number of
elderly Japanese were killed during World War
II. Second, a great migration of the younger
generations from rural to urban areas has oc-
curred as a result of changes in the industrial
structure of Japanese society--thus the pro-
portion of old people in rural areas has been
increasing rapidly, and a wide gap now exists
between rural and urban areas. (Mssa, 1983, p.

There are indications of relatively slow and small de-

clines in the proportion of the Japanese elders who live

with their children, but Japan is still an exception to

the general rule that industrialization causes a sharp

decline in status and integration of the aged.

McKain (1972) in his study of the aged in Russia,

indicated that USSR is a youth-oriented society in which

the children are given preferential treatment in the

belief that each succeeding generation will move closer

to the Communist ideal. Yet despite the emphasis on

childhood, there is a great concern for older people and

this is evidenced in the treatment they receive. They

almost always spend their later years in the homes of

children or friends; they are given an opportunity to

lead active and useful lives; they receive pensions and a

variety of fringe benefits that enable them to live much

as they did during their working years. In most homes

grandparents often look after the children while their

parents are at work. It is unfortunate that, as Soviet

society becomes more industrialized and more urbanized,

the problems of older people there may increase just as

they have in the United States during the last few gener-

ations according to McKain.

Streib (1967), in his study of old age in Ireland,

noticed that the role of the aged has been often viewed

as an idyllic type of gerontological situation in which

old people are respected and revered and maintain their

influence throughout the life cycle. Family, community,

and age groups form an interlocking set of social rela-

tionships linking the society together in an interdepen-

dent fashion. The Irish are considered a model of how a

society should treat its aged. However, urban and rural

Ireland is changing as a result of both indigenous and

alien influences. The movement back and forth of Irish

emigrants and British tourists and the penetration of

radio and television into many of the remote areas of

Ireland have altered traditional patterns and will con-

tinue to do so in the future.

In Norway, as in most countries undergoing rapid

industrialization, with increasing urbanization, high

geographical and social mobility, and a rapidly changing

family and social structure, not only have the number and

proportions of the aged, 65 and over, increased, but

their roles and status have also been profoundly altered.

Older people have few significant roles to play in the

community. Their function as grandparents is less sig-

nificant than in the past. With greater intergenera-

tional mobility both the physical and psychological dis-

tance between the generations is greater than in the


American society is one of the most highly modern-

ized, industrialized urbanized societies in the world.

It is also strongly affected by the Protestant ethic and

is highly individualistic. In that society the onset of

old age is determined not by physical debility, not by a

stage of family cycle such as becoming a grandparent, not

by disengagement from sports or recreational activities,

but by retirement from work. In American society, the

family is predominantly nuclear and neolocal and this not

only separates older parents from their adult children,

it is consistent with a value system which favors inde-

pendence of one generation from the other. The status of

the aged in the United States is at best ambiguous;

perhaps it is not so much low status as it is no status;

but is often described as "role-less role" (Cowgill &

Holmes, 1972).

Further, according to Cowgill and Holmes, the rate

of social change is of a great significance to the status

and the role of the aged. From the studies, it appears

that change is slower in some societies, but there are

evidences of change in all and the rate appears to be

accelerating in all. As a result, the responsibility for

providing security for the aged is shifting from the

family to the government or the whole society.

In Saudi Arabia there is a great respect for senior-

ity of age in public speaking, decision-making and in

most aspects of social life. The aged are generally

considered as the storehouse of traditions and they often

are consulted as experts. Advanced age is the most

honored period of life. Children are always presented

with the idea that older people are to be treated with

respect. In Saudi Arabia the family is the basic social

group providing security for dependent aged. For exam-

ple, over 80 percent of older Saudis aged 65 or more live

with their children, while only a quarter of Americans

over 65 or more live with their children.

The rapid social and technological changes charac-

teristic of our time are having a special impact on the

family structure. Young Saudis have become independent

of their parents and their brothers and sisters. The

young Saudi family is increasingly becoming more distant

physically from relatives. The preferred living arrange-

ment among the young generation is to live nearby but not

in the same households. Children who were once dependent

establish their own households. However, the family ties

remain strong. Also, urbanization which accompanied

industrialization caused a population shift from rural to

urban areas among all age groups and especially among the

younger. As a result, the high proportion of Saudis

living with their children is decreasing. Social changes

in the family are responsible for many of the problems

faced by the aged today.


In a review of available studies and their methodol-

ogies concerning life satisfaction, modernization and

aging and modernity many discrepancies were found.

Quality of life in later years received great con-

cern among researchers. Several variables have been

found to be important and related to life satisfaction,

and others were found which are not. Among these related

variables are health, socioeconomic status, sex, age,

standard of living, financial situation, number of activ-

ities, and social relations.

The most frequently examined variables were health

and socioeconomic status (SES). Poor health has been

found to be correlated with a low level of life satisfac-

tion, while good health is associated with a high level

of life satisfaction (Adams, 1971; Connor, Powers, &

Bultena, 1979; Larson, 1978; and Palmore & Luikart,

1972). Larson (1978) emphasized that SES is one of the

most important correlates which determine life satisfac-

tion. Other studies also found differences in the level

of satisfaction concerning age and sex (Palmore & Kivett,

1977; Spreitzer & Snyder, 1974).

There was a high degree of discrepancy among re-

searchers regarding age itself as a variable. The main

concern is whether age itself, or those factors

associated with age, are responsible for the findings.

Some recent studies in the Middle East were included to

give an idea of the need for further investigation. The

focus of those studies is the aged and their satisfaction

or otherwise with available social services and physical


Concerning the aged and modernization, it was no-

ticed that their status, in most societies, tended to

decline (Bengston et al., 1975; Burger, 1960; Cowgill &

Holmes, 1972; Palmore, 1975; and Simmons, 1946). In

general, urbanization, industrialization, and increased

life expectancy presented situations and problems to the

aged. The family as a social support system for the aged

has been affected by those factors. As a result, the

responsibility of taking care of the elderly is shifting

from the family to society. In less-developed societies


(Igbo, Sidamo, Bantu, India, Thailand, Polynesia, and

Hong Kong) the shifting is slow. The elderly still

receive great respect from the members of the family.

The structure and interpersonal relationships among the

family members are still strong. The elderly face less

threat and have a superior status compared to those

elderly who live in modern societies.



The primary objective of this study was to examine

how Saudis involved in the process of modernization will

judge the importance of various correlates of life satis-

faction for the aged in Saudi Arabia and to determine if

any sex differences exist.

Two hypotheses were formulated and stated in experi-

mental and statistical terms.


1. Saudi Arabian males with greater modernity will

judge the importance of correlates of life satisfac-

tion for the aged differently from more traditional


2. Saudi Arabian females with greater modernity will

judge the importance of correlates of life satisfac-

tion for the aged differently from more traditional



1. There will be no statistically significant relation-

ships between scores on the Neoteric Scale

(modernity) and the scores on the Correlates of Life

Satisfaction Scale for Saudi Arabian males.

2. There will be no statistically significant relation-

ships between scores on the Neoteric Scale (moder-

nity) and scores on the Correlates of Life Satisfac-

tion Scale for Saudi Arabian females.


A total of 800 packets (including the questionnaires

and an introductory letter explaining the purpose of the

study, providing instructions for completing the ques-

tionnaires, and asking for demographic information) were

distributed by the researcher. The subjects were parents

and other older family members of university students

attending the College of Education in Makkah for men and

a branch of the College for Women and the College of

Education for women in Jeddah. The sample consisted of

200 males and 200 females who completed the material in

the packet. Determination of the final sample is de-

scribed in a later section on Data Collection. The mean

age for the male respondents was 52.08 years; that of the

females was 45.42 years. Eighty-five percent of the

respondents were married, 3.0 percent were single, 6.26

percent were divorced, and 5.75 percent were widowed.

The respondents' level of education ranged from "None"

(do not read or write) to "College" (see Table 1).

The researcher chose the cities of Makkah and Jeddah

as research sites because the size of their populations

are representative of the population size of the other

parts of Saudi Arabia. For example, Jeddah is one of the

largest cities in Saudi Arabia, having a population of

about 1,250,000. Jeddah is considered a modern city.

Companies from all over the world have business there. A

large part of the population has come from Makkah, Riyad,

and Medina, as well as from those small towns and vil-

lages around Jeddah. On the other hand, Makkah is a more

traditional city than Jeddah because it is the site of

the Holy Kaaba and destination of the compulsory annual

pilgrimages of the Moslem faithful. Unlike Jeddah, where

Westerners work and live, only Moslems may enter Makkah.

Data Collection

During the Spring Semester of 1984, The Neoteric

Scale used to measure modernity and the Shebani Corre-

lates of Life Satisfaction used to measure perceived life

satisfaction were distributed by the researcher and 3

male graduate assistants to male students attending the

College of Education at Makkah. On the same date the two

instruments were distributed by female graduate

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assistants to female students attending the College of

Education at Jeddah and a branch of the College of Educa-

tion at Makkah (for women).

The students were requested to take the question-

naires home and ask their parents and any other older

relatives living at home to fill out these question-

naires. In cases where the parents or other older rel-

atives had not had any formal education, the students

were instructed to read each item of the questionnaires

aloud and to record the elders' responses. The students

were asked to return the completed questionnaires as soon

as possible but within three weeks from the day they had

received them. At the stipulated date 448 questionnaires

had been returned, 234 by females, and 214 by males, or

56 percent. Fourteen of these had to be eliminated

because of incomplete responses. The remaining number of

completed questionnaires was 434. Since it was desired

to obtain a total sample in which sex was equally dis-

tributed, the questionnaires were divided into two sets:

210 males and 224 females, and from each set question-

naires were randomly eliminated until the final sample of

usable questionnaires was exactly 400, 200 filled out by

males and 200 by females.


Two instruments were used for the present investiga-

tion. The first instrument was needed for measuring the

various aspects of life satisfaction. Shebani's (1984)

Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale was used for this

purpose. The second instrument was needed for measuring

the degree of modernity. This instrument, named the

Neoteric Scale, was developed by this researcher. These

instruments are described below.

The Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale (Shebani, 1984)

This scale was developed in a study of correlates of

life satisfaction among older Libyans and Americans. It

consists of 44 Likert-type items about some needs which

subjects rate for their presumed importance in providing

satisfaction with life for older people. The responses

ranged from 1 meaning "Somewhat Important" to 5 meaning

"Extremely Important." The items were derived from four

broad areas of concern--physical and material correlates

(having good income, good clothing, transportation, good

health, etc.), social relations (living with children or

relatives, having friends, etc.) and psychological needs

(loved by others, being independent, respected, etc.). A

copy of this instrument can be found in Appendix A.

Shebani's scale is the only instrument for measuring life

satisfaction available in Arabic. Shebani's findings

indicate that this scale discriminated between Libyan and

American older respondents.

Shebani was unable to reduce the 44-item responses

on his questionnaire to a useful set of satisfactory

subscales through use of common factor analysis. Sim-

ilarly negative results were obtained in the present

study. Tables of factor loadings are found in Appendix

B, Tables B.1, B.2 and B.3. Thus, it was necessary to

retain the scores on all individual items to be examined

in the present study.

One modification of the Shebani instrument was

deemed necessary: His item number 12, "Believing in God"

was deleted. Almost every Moslem would agree strongly

with this item so it would not be discriminatory. In

addition it would be offensive to some people. To facil-

itate comparison of Shebani's scale of 44-items with the

present 43-item scale a numerical value of one should be

subtracted from each of Shebani's item numbers larger

than 12. The 43-item instrument appears in Appendix A.

Neoteric Scale

The second instrument needed for this study was

developed by the present investigator to provide a way of

assessing the degree of modernity of each subject. This

is a 43-item five-point Likert-type scale with a response

of 1 meaning "Strongly Disagree" and 5 meaning "Strongly

Agree." This scale measures the following aspects of

living: education, occupation, mass media, travel, rela-

tionships with family, relationships with others, and

miscellaneous other social issues.

The main source of the material in the items is the

OM-3 Scale (Inkeles and Smith, 1974), an over 150 item

scale designed to measure overall modernity by individual

interviews. The rationale for employing this scale was

that it has been used in studying modernization in devel-

oping countries. Inkeles and Smith (1974) state: "As a

product of our large-scale comparative study of modern-

ization in six developing countries we believe we have

been able to devise a brief, reliable, valid, and cross-

culturally useful measure of the relative standing of

individuals on a scale of modernity" (p. 74). The OM-3

Scale consisted of all items in the OM-1 Scale (the Core

attitude scale) and also included in the OM-2 Scale (an

expanded attitude scale). The OM-3 Scale is based on

attitudinal, behavioral and informational items concern-

ing different areas such as active public participation,

aging and the aged, citizenship, family size, growth of

opinion, new experiences, kinship obligations.

The Neoteric Scale was developed using the following

procedures: The researcher and a committee member

knowledgeable about Arab culture selected 91 items from

the OM-3 Scale. These 91 items were sorted into the

categories listed above and were carefully examined for

their appropriateness for Saudi society. Some were re-

jected as being only marginally appropriate. Others were

eliminated because they were considered to be somewhat

offensive to Saudis. Another group of items was elim-

inated because they were expected to produce uniformly

high agreement, hence, would yield little information.

The remaining 71 items were placed into three piles:

Agree, Disagree, and Neither. The sorting showed many

more items in the Agree than the Disagree pile. There-

fore, an effort was made to achieve a better balance.

This was done in three ways. First, some items were

reworded to shift them in the Disagree direction. Sec-

ond, with what appeared to be redundant items, the one

highest in the Agree direction was eliminated. Third,

further empirical information was obtained by distribut-

ing the questionnaire to 16 Saudi students attending the

University of Florida. The final number of items was 43.

The order of the items in the final instrument, the

Neoteric Scale, was randomized. The English version of

the Neoteric Scale was translated into Arabic in consul-

tation with persons proficient in both languages. Both

the English and Arabic versions of the scale are included

in Appendix A.

The naming of the Neoteric Scale presented a prob-

lem. Many applications of the concept of modernity look

at simultaneous changes in a people's acceptance of mate-

rial things, progressive ideas, and the Western value-

system. In regions of the world where missionaries from

powerful Western nations have been operating, the changes

are in all three areas of modernity. However, the Arabs,

strong in number and in cultural background, while ac-

cepting of the Western material things are at the same

time resistant to change in their value-systems. To

describe the changes in people in contemporary Arab coun-

tries in terms of modernity seems too broad and general.

Therefore a more specific term, neoteric, was introduced.

Neoteric means "Recent in origin; modern; new;--said of

things or persons" (Neilson, 1947, p. 1640).

The grand mean of 3.39 on the Neoteric Scale was

found to be close to the ideal value of 3.0, the scale

midpoint, whereas the means for individual items ranged

from 1.31 to 4.35 with standard deviations for individual

items ranging from .64 to 1.31.

Since the problem was to find the relationships be-

tween variables measuring traditional-modern values and

those measuring correlates of life satisfaction, reduc-

tion of information obviously was necessary. Factor

analysis was considered as the appropriate procedure to

accomplish this. Pearson product-moment correlations

were calculated by the usual procedures, and iterations

were made to get communalities (Guertin & Bailey, 1970).

Stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to dis-

criminate between the sexes by regressing items on the

binary variable of sex for the responses to the Neoteric

Scale and the Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale.

The scores on the Correlates of Life Satisfaction

Scale were significantly different for the two sexes with

an F-ratio of 6.60 and a p of less than .0001. Table 2

shows the five most discriminating items. Female respon-

dents rated the following items as most important: Being

Needed By Others (1),l Being Respected By Others (15),

and Having A Few Close Friends (40). The males rated

these items most important: Helping Others In Various

Ways (8), and Attending The Mosque (27).

Multiple regression analysis was used to discrim-

inate between the sexes by regressing items on the binary

variable of sex. The Neoteric Scale was significantly

different for the two sexes with an F-ratio of 9.07 and a

p less than .0001. Table 3 shows the eight most dis-

criminating items. Male subjects rated these items as

1Capitalization of the first letter of each word of an
item of the Correlates of Life Satisfaction scale will be
employed to make it easier for the reader to recognize
when the proper noun name of an item is intended, rather
than being common words in a sentence.

Table 2.

Stepwise Multiple Regression of the Correlates
of Life Satisfaction Discriminators between Sex

Item Values
Number Description F-Valuel Slope2

1 Being Needed By Others 10.00 .068

8 Helping Others In Various Ways 6.11 -.056

15 Being Respected By Others 4.87 .056

27 Attending Mosque 5.92 -.067

40 Having A Few Close Friends 4.55 .045

1A11 significant below p=.05
Overall: F = 6.60, p<.0001
2Males = 1; Females = 2. Items with positive slope add
to the value of the predicted y, that is, in the direc-
tion of y=2, which is the coded score for females.
Negative slope reduce the value of the predicted y, that
is, in the direction of males.

Table 3. Stepwise Multiple Regression of the Neoteric
Scale Discriminators Between Sex Samples

Item Values
Number Description F-Valuel Slope2

1 Books Are The Most Important 5.51 .049
Source Of Knowledge For Children

2 A Good Wife Is One Who Always 11.93 -.080
Obeys Her Husband

12 Following International News Is 8.09 -.089

19 You Should Hire A Relative Before 6.71 .048

28 A Man Should Earn As Much Money 8.27 -.073
For His Family As He Can

41 Husbands Should Discuss Their Work 6.13 .057
With Their Wives

42 Women Should Be Able To Repair 9.71 .066
Broken Wires On Their Appliances

43 Friendship Should Count As Much 4.78 .044
As Competency In Hiring

1All significant below p = .05
Overall: F = 9.07, p<.0001
2Males = 1; Females = 2. Items with positive slope add
to the value of the predicted y, that is, in the direc-
tion of y=2, which is the coded score for females.
Negative slope reduce the value of the predicted y, that
is, in the direction of males.

most important: A Good Wife Is One Who Always Obeys Her

Husband (2), Following International News Is Important

(12), and A Man Should Earn As Much Money For His Family

As He Can (28). The females rated these items most

important: Books Are The Most Important Source of Knowl-

edge For Children (1), You Should Hire A Relative Before

Non-Relative (19), Husbands Should Discuss Their Work

With Their Wives (41), Women Should Be Able To Repair

Broken Wires In Their Appliances (42), and Friendship

Should Count As Much As Competency In Hiring (43).

Responses to the 43 items of this Neoteric Scale

were factor-analyzed for male and female samples sep-

arately and for the total sample. The highest of the 10

rotated Varimax factors accounted for only 6.98 percent

of the total variance in the scores of the 43 items for

the total sample. Separate analyses for male and female

gave 5.56 and 6.35 percent, respectively (see Tables

B.4, B.5, and B.6 in Appendix B). Because so little

variance would be involved it was decided not to use the

factors as bases for subscale scoring. The first princi-

pal axis gave only 9.51 percent of total variance ac-

counted for. Still a subscale based upon it would give

more reliable scores than those from rotated Varimax


The Neoteric Subscale scoring is based upon items

selected from the first principal axis matrix. The 10

subscale items all had loadings of at least .40 for the

combined subject sample and not less than .30 on the

separate sex sample analyses. The actual values of load-

ings for these 10 subscale items are summarized in Table

4. These items suggest that the Neoteric Subscale score

will be based mostly on favorable attitudes toward modern

activities, not just a generalized favorableness toward

what is new.

Subscale scoring involved reversing a person's score

on item 9 (subtracting it from the value of 6) and adding

the 10 scores together. The mean subscale scores for the

two sex samples were 39.89 for males and 39.88 for fe-

males. The F-ratio for the difference was 1.00.

Table 4. First Principal Axis Loading for the Neoteric
Scale to Establish Subscale Scoring

Item Loadings
Number Description Male Female Combined

6 Physical Exercised Should .60 .56 .56
Be Encouraged More

8 It Is Good To Travel And .47 .60 .54
Meet People Of Other Cul-

9 A Person Should Try To -.43 -.48 -.46
Live In One Community
All His Life

11 Husbands And Wives .47 .40 .47
Should Plan Household
Expenditures Together

15 Boys Should Be Encour- .49 .42 .45
aged To Learn Trades,
Not Only Professions

20 When You Are Successful .49 .34 .43
In One Business, You
Should Go Into Others

32 Modern Machines And .36 .38 .43
Equipment Improve The
Quality Of Life

33 A Son Should Choose The .48 .60 .54
Job He Likes, Not The
One His Father Prefers

35 We Should Be Ready To .51 .46 .51
Try New Things

39 A Person Should Work .56 .34 .46
Only With Honest People


This study focused on the relationships between

modernity and importance given to various aspects of life

satisfaction by older Saudi Arabs. Degree of modernity

was measured with the Neoteric Scale and correlated with

the judged importance of items on the Correlates of Life

Satisfaction Scale. High correlations would indicate

areas of satisfaction that will be likely to increase in

importance as modernization progresses in Saudi Arabia.

First, such a presumed relationship between instruments

must be established at a statistically significant level.

The analyses described in the previous chapter showed

that there was a sex difference in responses to the two

research instruments. However, there was no difference

in mean score on the Neoteric Subscale score. Nonethe-

less, it was believed prudent to make separate analyses

by sex samples, at least in the preliminary stages.

A stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to

test the null hypothesis that there is no relationship

between modernity and the importance attached to the

Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale items. The exces-

sive number of these 43 items that could enter the re-

gression equation as independent variables requires the

conservative decision to use an Alpha level for probabil-

ity of .0001. Tables 5 and 6 show the regression of the

43 Correlates of Life Satisfaction items on the Neoteric

Subscale score for each of the two sex samples. Only the

variables entering the first 10 steps of the stepwise

analysis are presented here. All F-ratios in both tables

are statistically significant at the .0001 level.

Squared multiple correlation coefficients showed that 25

percent of the variance of the Neoteric Subscale score

was predicted from the 10 items in the table for males.

For females 36 percent of the variance was predicted.

Correlates of life satisfaction were ranked in order

of entry to the equation predicting the Neoteric Subscale

score for male subjects and are presented in Table 5.

Reading Good Books (24) and Using One's Mind (22) are the

first two of the 10 variables listed in Table 6. The

third variable to enter the stepwise regression equation

was Owning Things (2). It had a negative regression

coefficient in the equation so the relationship to the

Neoteric Subscale is reversed, namely, (not) Owning

Things is related to getting a higher score on the Neo-

teric Subscale. That is, Owning Things (2) is more

important to the traditional than the modern male. When-

ever the regression coefficient is negative for an item,

the item is reworded negatively here by the addition of

Table 5. Stepwise Regression of the Correlates of Life
Satisfaction With the Neoteric Subscale: Males

Item Entering Overall
Step No. Description F-Ratio

1 24 Reading Good Books 24.12

2 22 Using One's Mind 16.69

3 2 Owning Things1 13.78

4 13 Participating In Social Organization 11.77

5 26 Having Good Transportation 10.09

6 10 Having Important Job1 8.91

7 9 Having Public Medical Assistancel 8.04

8 35 Feeling Healthy 7.40

9 16 Watching TV And Listening To Radio 6.93

10 40 Having A Few Close Friends 6.46

1Inverse relationship between the Neoteric Subscale and
entering variable gave a negative regression coefficient
at that stage and in the final 10-variable equation.

Table 6.

Stepwise Regression of the Correlates of Life
Satisfaction with the Neoteric Subscale: Fe-

Item Entering
Step No. Description F-Ratio

1 15 Being Respected By Others 28.46

2 10 Having An Important Job1 23.24

3 24 Reading Good Books 21.19

4 6 Understanding Oneself 18.67

5 43 Visiting With Close Friends 16.68

6 19 Having Many Friends 14.77

7 2 Owning Things1 13.43

8 3 Being Independent 12.37

9 26 Having Good Transportation 11.35

10 41 Being An Important PersonI 10.51

1Inverse relationship between the Neoteric subscale and
entering variable gave a negative regression coefficient
at that stage and in the final 10-variable equation.

(not). Participating In Social Organizations (13) and

Having Good Transportation (26) entered the regression

equation next. Interestingly, Having An Important Job

(10) is inversely related to the Neoteric Subscale score.

The concept of retirement (not having a job) is rather

new to such an agrarian country. Having Medical Assis-

tance (public) Available (9) also relates negatively

since the more modern Saudi uses private physicians. The

last three items entering the regression are Feeling

Healthy (35), Watching TV And Listening To Radio (16),

and Having A Few Close Friends (40).

Table 6 for the female subsample shows the items of

the Correlates of Life Satisfaction in their order of

importance as the instrument relates to the Neoteric

Subscale. All F-ratios are statistically significant at

the .0001 level. Only four of the 10 items entering the

regression analysis of the female subsample were the same

as for the males: (not) Having An Important Job (10),

Reading Good Books (24), (not) Owning Things (2), and

Having Good Transportation (26).

Among the six not found with males, Being Respected

(15) and Understanding Oneself (6) seem to indicate an

increased self-awareness in the modern women. Visiting

With Close Friends (43) and Having Many Friends (19) seem

to reflect increasing opportunity in the more modern

family for more social activity and appreciation

thereof. The remaining two items entering the stepwise

regression equation are Being Independent (3) and (not)

Being An Important Person (41).

There was a 40 percent overlap of items between the

two sex-sample regression equations that relate the Neo-

teric Subscale score to the Correlates of Life Satisfac-

tion items. Since these sex differences between analyses

were not remarkable, it was convenient to combine sub-

samples to produce more dependable results. Statistical

testing of the null hypothesis about sex differences will

be discussed in a later section.

Eight items entered the final regression equation to

predict the Neoteric Subscale score from the Correlates

of Life Satisfaction items for the total sample. The

next (ninth) step brought in an item that had less than a

significant relationship (p<.05) with the Neoteric Sub-

scale score, so analysis was terminated. The overall F-

ratio of 15.98 is statistically significant at the .0001

level (Table 7). The null hypothesis stating that there

is no relationship between the Neoteric Subscale score

and the Correlates of Life Satisfaction was rejected for

both sex subsamples and for the total sample. The

squared multiple regression coefficient shows that 25

percent of the variance in the Neoteric Subscale score is

predicted from the eight items in the table.

Table 7. Regression for the Correlates of Life Satisfac-
tion with the Neoteric Subscale: Combined Sex

Item Values
Number Description F-Ratio Slope

2 Owning Things1 7.92 -.51

6 Understanding Oneself 4.37 .49

10 Having An Important Job1 8.58 -.57

15 Being Respected By Others 6.62 .59

22 Using One's mind 4.91 .57

24 Reading Good Books 9.62 .61

26 Having Good Transportation 5.17 .49

43 Visiting With Close Friends 8.82 .61

Overall: F = 15.98, p<.0001, Multiple R squared = .25

1Inverse relationship between the Neoteric Subscale and
the Correlates of Life Satisfaction item indicated a
negative regression coefficient.

The eight items showing relationships between the

Neoteric Subscale scores and the Correlates of Life Sat-

isfaction items can be examined for similarities in the

type of needs involved. (Not) Owning things (2) and

(not) Having An Important Job (10) seem to relate to the

recognition that material things are not the most impor-

tant sources of gratification for the modern Arab. In

this changing society it is not how much land you own but

what you really are as a person that counts.

Using One's Mind (22) and Reading Good Books (24)

are better sources of satisfaction for the aged according

to the more modern Arabs. The more obscure attributes

underlying Understanding Oneself (6) and Being Respected

By Others (15) give contentment and are to be preferred

to material things. Modern conveniences are not wholly

eschewed. Having Good Transportation (26) permits Visit-

ing With Close Friends (43) which is, of course, an

important activity in that society.

Table 8 presents simple correlations between the

Neoteric Subscale and the Correlates of Life Satisfaction

items for both male and female subsamples as well as for

the combined sex (total) sample. The small size of the

correlation coefficients is generally disappointing. It

was anticipated that some of the systematic variance

associated with age difference in subjects inflated total

variance enough to cause the coefficients to be seriously

Table 8. Correlations Between the Neoteric Subscale and the
Correlates of Life Satisfaction for All Samples

Item Correlations
Number Description Male Female Combined

1 Being Needed By Others .02 .04 -.01
2 Owning Things -.22 -.22 -.22
3 Being Independent .01 .07 .04
4 Associating With Younger People -.00 -.11 -.06
5 Having Good Living Arrangements .02 .00 .01
6 Understanding Oneself .22 .31 .26
7 Having Friendly Neighbors .07 .28 .18
8 Helping Others In Various Ways .10 .15 .12
9 Having Public Medical Assistance Available -.05 .13 .04
10 Having An Important Job -.12 .26 -.19
11 Living With Relatives .08 .04 .02
12 Having Good Food .11 .27 .20
13 Participating In Social Organizations .26 .04 .16
14 Living With Spouse .11 .02 .06
15 Being Respected By Others .15 .35 .24
16 Watching TV And Listening To Radio .21 .10 .15
17 Associating With Older People .01 -.05 -.03
18 Having Good Clothing .11 .11 .11
19 Having Many Friends .17 .17 .17
20 Being Able To Travel .07 .08 .07
21 Feeling Loved By Others .17 .28 .22
22 Using One's Mind .29 .31 .30
23 Being Able To Tell Others What To Do .09 .14 .11
24 Reading Good Books .33 .23 .28
25 Living Close To Children -.00 .09 .04
26 Having Good Transportation .17 .19 .18
27 Attending Mosque .00 .13 .07
28 Making New Friends .19 .11 .14
29 Living In Same Community as Relatives .03 -.05 -.01
30 Having Good Education .16 -.08 .04
31 Being Physically Strong -.02 .04 .01
32 Having Work To Do .18 .14 .16
33 Being Physically Active -.05 .03 -.01
34 Having Children To Be Proud Of .03 .14 .09
35 Feeling Healthy .14 .17 .16
36 Having An Adequate Income -.05 .02 -.01
37 Having Some Privacy In Living Quarters -.05 -.03 -.02
38 Living With Friends -.05 -.27 -.17
39 Expecting To Have Adequate Income in Future .06 .03 .05
40 Having a Few Close Friends .23 .21 .22
41 Being An Important Person -.03 .12 -.08
42 Being Respected For One's Knowledge .04 .00 .02
43 Visiting With Close Friends .27 .28 .27

attenuated. Partial correlations were calculated for

both male and female subsamples and the total sample.

Not a single partial correlation differed from the simple

correlations in Table 8 to the hundredths' place, so

analysis will focus on the zero-order (simple) correla-


Of the correlations in Table 8 for the males, 8 are

significant at the .01 level and a total of 14 at the .05

level. The females have 12 correlations with signif-

icance at the .01 level and a total of 15 at the .05

level. The combined sex sample (total) shows 18 correla-

tions significant at the .01 level and a total of 22 at

the .05 level. Even though the correlations were disap-

pointingly small, it is obvious that the data in Table 8

cannot be attributed to chance.

Next is the question as to whether the relationships

in Table 8 differ significantly between the sex samples

or can be ignored and subsamples combined for further

examination and discussion. Table B.7 in Appendix B

shows transformations of the correlation coefficients to

Fisher z's. Dividing the difference between z's by the

standard error of the difference in z's yields t-ratios

shown. None of the 43 t-ratios is significant at even

the .05 level, so it is concluded that the male and

female subsamples can be combined to examine these

relationships in more detail.

At this point it has been established that the

correlations between the Neoteric Subscale and the Corre-

lates of Life Satisfaction items are not significantly

different between the male and female subsamples. There-

fore, these two subsamples were combined for the subse-

quent analysis. Of the 43 correlations between the Neo-

teric Subscale and the Correlates of Life Satisfaction

Items, 22 were large enough to be significant at the .05

level and 18 have p's at the .01 level of confidence.

This also supports the rejection of the null hypothesis

that there are no statistically significant relationships

between these two instruments.

Correlations for the combined sex sample between the

Neoteric Subscale and the Correlates of Life Satisfaction

items have been ordered by size and placed in Table 9 for

easy reference. The first 18 listed have p's corres-

ponding to the .01 level. The next four have p's at the

.05 level.

The two items correlating highest with the Neoteric

Subscale are Using One's Mind (22) and Reading Good Books

(24). It is not surprising to find more modern Saudis

rate these as more important than do the traditional

Saudis. The implications for future planning for Saudi

aged are obvious. Providing libraries and opportunities

Table 9. Correlations Between the Neoteric Subscale and
The Correlates of Life Satisfaction for Combined
Sex Samples (Ordered by Size of r)

No. Description r

22 Using One's Mind .30
24 Reading Good Books .28
43 Visiting With Close Friends .27
26 Understanding Oneself .26
15 Being Respected By Others .24
21 Feeling Loved By Others .22
2 Owning Things -.22
40 Having a Few Close Friends .22
12 Having Good Food .20
10 Having An Important Job -.19
26 Having Good Transportation .18
7 Having Friendly Neighbors .18
19 Having Many Friends .17
38 Living With Friends -.17
35 Feeling Healthy .16
32 Having Work To Do .16
13 Participating in Social Organizations .16
16 Watching TV and Listening to Radio .15

28 Making New Friends .141
8 Helping Others in Various Ways .12
18 Having Good Clothing .11
23 Being Able to Tell Others What To Do .11

34 Having Children To Be Proud Of .092
41 Being An Important Person -.08
20 Being Able to Travel .07
27 Attending Mosque .07
14 Living With Spouse .06
4 Associating With Younger People -.06
39 Expecting That You Will Have An Adequate .05
Income In The Future
30 Having Good Education .04
3 Being Independent .04
9 Having Medical Assistance Available .04
25 Living Close To Children .04
17 Associating With Older People -.03
11 Living With Relatives .02
42 Being Able To Have Some Privacy In Your -.02
Living Quarters
5 Having Good Living Arrangements .01
31 Being Physically Strong .01
29 Living At The Same Community As Your -.01
33 Being Physically Active -.01
36 Having An Adequate Income -.01
1 Being Needed By Others -.01

AAll values greater than .15 have p<.01
2All values greater than .11 have p<.05

to pursue semi-academic type activities will be increas-

ingly appropriate considerations in such planning.

Skipping the third listed item, the next highest

correlations are for Understanding Oneself (6), Being

Respected By Others (15), and Feeling Loved By Others

(21). All these are quite abstract and deal self-con-

sciously with concerns about self. The items involve

introspective processes which are more characteristic of

the Western Humanist than of the traditional Arab. West-

ern influence is conspicuous here in the responding of

the more modern subject. In fact, the more modern go so

far as to deny the importance of Owning Things (2).

Implications for future planning for the aged are similar

to those suggested by the academic type items found at

the beginning of this table. Intellectual-academic type

activities, such as discussion groups, will be increas-

ingly easier to substitute for more traditional concerns

such as owning things (e.g., a house).

Skipping the next item, some rather practical, con-

crete matters are identified as being more important to

the more modern Saudi. Having Good Food (12), Having

Good Transportation (26), Feeling Healthy (35), and

Watching TV And Listening To Radio (16) seem to be impor-

tant for the more modern Saudi who has learned to desire

more advantages as he widens his horizons through greater

experience. It would appear that the aged in the future

will find that having material advantages and comfort

will offer some compensation for the losses related to

home and family that occur when it becomes necessary to

provide institutional support.

The remaining 10 items on the list, which are large

enough to be significant at the .05 level, all have to do

with interacting with people, frequently with "friends."

In order of size of correlations these are Visiting

Close Friends (43), Having A Few Close Friends (40),

Having Friendly Neighbors (7), Having Many Friends (19),

Having Work To Do (with people) (32), Participating In

Social Organizations (13), Making New Friends (28), and

Helping Others In Various Ways (8). These more superfi-

cial social interactions, preferred by the more modern,

contrast with the close family interactions of the tradi-

tional Saudi.

While the more modern Saudis seek out social inter-

action, they wish to restrict the depth of it. This is

shown in (not) Living With Friends (38). Also there are

no family-oriented items correlated appreciably with the

Neoteric Subscale. These pervasive findings indicate

that the kind of social activities possible in institu-

tional settings can be quite valuable in helping compen-

sate for loss of close family interaction for the aged as

the society becomes increasingly modernized.

Only one of the significant items in the table

remains to be considered, (not) Having An Important Job

(10). It appears that the more modern Saudi has incor-

porated the concept of retirement into his plans. In

contrast, the traditional Arab continues to care for his

sheep and goats unless he becomes physically disabled.

This finding bodes well for future planning for the aged

since it appears that in the future the aged will accept

giving up their work more easily, thus making institu-

tional adjustment easier.

The results of this study support the findings of

other investigators of developing countries, especially

those of Shebani (1984). The recent study by Shebani

examined differences in how Libyan Arabs viewed various

correlates of life satisfaction for the aged. His young

group could be expected to express a more modernized

viewpoint than his aged group did. In effect, Shebani

used age differences as a way of introducing modernity as

a variable. His findings should lend support to the

present results.

Shebani's study of the more modern male (college

student sample) agreed with the present study in empha-

sizing the importance of semi-academic activities for the

aged. Also in agreement between the studies was the

finding that the more modern subjects, having experienced

modern conveniences, felt that it is important to provide

them for the aged. This need for conveniences was par-

ticularly focused upon providing transportation for the

aged. It seems clear that this aspect of material advan-

tage is important primarily because it permits maintain-

ing visits among family members and with close friends.

Both studies showed that the more modern Saudis felt

that more superficial social activities are rewarding and

are needed by the aged. However, the respondents in the

present study are much older than those in Shebani's

young group. While Shebani's subjects viewed the family

from a dependent point of view, the almost middle-aged

subjects of the present study are concerned with role

responsibilities. Thus, Shebani's sample focused on

Living With Relatives (11) while the older subjects in

the present study emphasized Being Respected By Others




Two instruments were used in the present investi-

gation. The first was the Correlates of Life Satisfac-

tion Scale which was developed by Shebani (1984). The

second was developed by the present investigator to pro-

vide a way of assessing the modernity of each subject and

was named the Neoteric Scale.

Multiple regression analysis was used to discrim-

inate between the sexes on the Correlates of Life Satis-

faction Scale. The analysis showed significant differ-

ences for the two sexes with an F-ratio of 6.60 and a

less than .0001. The Neoteric Scale also identified

significant differences between the two sexes with an F-

ratio of 9.07 and a p less than .0001.

An attempt to reduce the responses of the 43 items

on the Correlates of Life Satisfaction questionnaire to a

useful set of subscales through use of common factor

analysis was unsuccessful. Thus, it was necessary to

retain the scores on all individual items to be examined.

For the Neoteric Scale, responses to the 43 items

were factor analyzed. The highest of the 10 rotated

varimax factors accounted only for 6.98 percent of the

total variance in the score of the 43 items for the total

sample, 5.56 for the males, and 6.35 for the females.

Because so little variance would be involved it was

decided not to use the factors as bases for subscale

scoring. The Neoteric subscale scoring was based on

items selected from the first principal axis matrix. The

10 subscale items all had loadings of at least .40 for

the total sample and not less than .30 for the separate

sex sample. The analysis showed no sex differences on

the mean subscale scores for the two sex samples on the

Neoteric Scale. It was 39.84 for the males and 39.88 for

the females.

A stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to

test the null hypothesis that there is no relationship

between modernity and the importance attached to the

Correlates of Life Satisfaction Scale items. For both

males and females all F-ratios were statistically signif-

icant at the .0001 level. For the total sample the

overall F-ratio of 15.98 is statistically significant at

the .0001 level. Thus, the null hypothesis was rejected

for both sex subsamples and for the total sample.

Further analysis was used to find out if the rela-

tionships between the sex samples differed significantly.

Transformation of the correlation coefficients to Fisher

z's and dividing the differences in z's yield t-ratios.

Of the 43 t-ratios none was significant even at the .05

level. This suggested that the male and female sub-

samples can be combined for further examination and dis-


As a result of the findings above, that the corre-

lations between the Correlates of Life Satisfaction items

and the Neoteric Subscale did not significantly differ,

the two subsamples were combined for subsequent analysis.

From the 43 correlations between the two instruments, 22

were large enough to be significant at the .05 level and

18 had p's at the .01 level of confidence.


In conclusion, the impact of development and social

change on society in Saudi Arabia is very much in evi-

dence in the responses of the subjects. The most inter-

esting finding is that the more modern Saudis rated items

of an intellectual type, such as Using One's Mind and

Reading Good Books, as more important than did the tradi-

tional Saudis. Associated with the intellectual approach

to gaining life satisfaction is the rather self-conscious

mentalistic focus. The more modern give more importance

to Understanding Oneself, Being Respected, and Feeling


Modern Saudis having experienced modern conveniences

acknowledge that they are important. For example, they

feel that Having Good Food, Transportation, Being Heal-

thy, and Watching TV will enhance the quality of life for

the aged.

Social interaction also was an important issue in

the minds of those who are more modern. The modern

Saudis emphasize interacting frequently with people, with

friends, neighbors and with people at work. In contrast,

the traditional Saudis rated close family interactions as

their choice. It would appear that those who have tried

the new life find that more superficial contacts with

others can be rewarding, perhaps they even find relief in

reducing the depth of the obligation to others who are

close friends or relatives.


Specific Recommendations

The finding that the more modern show greater inter-

est in academic and intellectual activities suggests that

planning should provide for adult education, library

facilities, and lecture and discussion meeting places for

the aged in the community. The institutionalized will

also require similar opportunities.

Emphases on self-understanding and social esteem of

the more modern Saudis require a heavier planning empha-

sis or providing opportunities for maintaining relation-

ships than they do on activities. Nevertheless, group

meetings where feelings can be shared by people with

similar problems will be helpful. Privacy and one-on-one

counseling will permit expression of intimate concerns.

Social work will be helpful to maintain the relationships

between the institutionalized and his community.

The importance of modern convenience may be related

to feelings about the self. Living poorly leads to

feeling poor in spirit. Adequate physical facilities and

some spending money should be guaranteed. The reassur-

ance of good medical services being available can give a

psychological boost as well. Transportation can provide

important opportunities to visit relatives and old


The readiness for the more modern to accept more

superficial social interaction fits in nicely with what

institutions can manage to offer. A wide variety of

activities can lead to valuable interaction and formation

of new friends. Facilities such as clubrooms and activ-

ity shops need to be provided. The gratification of

playing cards or dominoes can partially compensate for

the separation from the family and community.