University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Research

Well Elderly Study

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Since 1993, when the USC Well Elderly Study was first launched, the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy has been involved in studying the impact of a specific intervention called Lifestyle Redesign® on health in older Americans. The initial Well Elderly Study conducted by USC from 1994 through 1996 made a number of notable contributions in the research on occupational therapy and its effect on the aging population. The largest outcomes research study conducted in the field to date, results of this research were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Clark et al., 1997), the first occupational therapy study to ever earn a spot in the pages of the prestigious JAMA. The findings from this project showed that preventative occupational therapy intervention significantly slows the declines normally associated with aging, and is a cost-effective method of enabling older individuals to maintain their health and independence.

Professor Florence Clark and former professor Jeanne Jackson recently completed a study, referred to as “The USC Well Elderly Study 2”, which aimed to replicate previous study results, which demonstrated that Lifestyle Redesign® cost-effectively slows the declines normally associated with aging. This new research effort is also intended to build theory by simultaneously examining biological and social psychological mechanisms potentially responsible for the positive effects previously produced by the intervention. The findings of this study provide new information about the process events by which activity-based lifestyle interventions can influence aging outcomes.