Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Candace Kemp

Second Advisor

Mary Ball

Third Advisor

Elisabeth Burgess


Social relationships can have considerable influence on physical and mental well-being. AL research suggests that other residents are among the most available social contacts and that co-resident relationships can affect life satisfaction, quality of life, and well-being. Although functional status influences social relationships, research has yet to provide an in-depth understanding of how cognitive and physical function affects co-resident relationships in AL. In this thesis, I present an analysis of qualitative data collected over a one-year period in two diverse settings. The thesis addressed: 1) How does functional status influence co-resident relationships? ; and 2) What factors shape its influence? Analysis was guided by principles of Grounded Theory Method. Coming together and pulling apart signifies the key finding that functional status is multi-directional, fluid, and operates in different ways in various situations and across time. Facility and resident –level factors further affect the influence of functional status on co-resident relationships.