Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

James E. Kantner


The purpose of this study was to investigate the major themes elicited by the 16 stimulus cards of the Senior Apperception Test (SAT) (Bellak, 1975). The SAT was administered to 40 institutionalized male and female volunteers from seven nursing homes in the central Illinois region. They ranged in age from 61 to 97 years of age. There were 20 females (mean age = 78.6 years, S.D. = 8.3 years) and 20 males (mean age = 78.l years, S.D. = 10.4 years). All subjects were initially given a brief organic screening device to rule out those subjects with severe or moderate organic damage. Those subjects who missed two questions or less were subsequently administered the SAT. Results found no consistent pattern of sex differences in responses. A thematic analysis illustrated that content themes depicting affiliation and physical limitations along with themes of dependency and description, were the most predominant themes for an institutionalized older adult sample. The majority of the story outcomes were of an ambivalent nature and a neutral tenor. The implications of the results were discussed.