Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
The Effect of Age on Visual Motor Skills of Typical Women in Their 70s
Author Affiliations
  • Texas Woman's University
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Assessment/Measurement
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
The Effect of Age on Visual Motor Skills of Typical Women in Their 70s
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011500050.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011500050.

Date Presented 4/8/2016

Demographics related to aging in the United States will be presented, and research related to changes in the brain as one ages will be summarized. A study comparing visual–motor skills of typical women in their 30s with those of women in their 70s will be presented and implications for practice addressed.

Primary Author and Speaker: O. Jayne Bowman

Contributing Author: Amy Cheryl Martin

RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS: Differences exist in the visual–motor skills of typical women in their 30s and those in their 70s as determined by Accuracy, Approach, and Total scores on the Design Copying (DC) Test.
RATIONALE: The U.S. population is rapidly aging. Women who reach 65 have a life expectancy of 85 (Health & Human Services). Elderly women will increasingly be clients of occupational therapists (OTs). Therefore, it is imperative to learn more about them. Little is known about how age affects their visual–motor skills. A valid instrument, such as the DC Test, is needed to assess those skills so OTs can objectively determine if elderly women have deficits in that area. Murray-Gerzik showed the test is reliable with adults.
If the hypothesis is confirmed and the test is sufficiently sensitive to differentiate between the performances of older and younger women, this known-groups construct validity study will provide OTs with a way to assess visual–motor skills of elderly women and also provide important information about the way elderly women copy.
DESIGN: A quantitative, nonexperimental, descriptive, cross sectional design was used.
PARTICIPANTS: A purposive sampling technique was used (N = 60). Inclusion criteria were as follows: typical women in their 30s and 70s, free of illness or disability, spoke English, engaged in occupations, and had a high school diploma. Exclusion criteria were as follows: used mood-altering drugs or diagnosed with a mental, emotional, or neurological condition.
METHOD: Instrumentation: The DC Test was administered and scored according to the manual and yielded three scores.
Environment: Participants were assessed individually at the same table and chair with only examiner and participant present.
ANALYSIS: Quantitative analyses were used. A Kolmogorov–Smirnov Test of Normality revealed data were normally distributed. Hotelling’s Trace Multivariate Test was used to maintain a .05 α level. Because results were significant, separate univariate analyses were conducted and revealed women in their 30s had higher Accuracy and Approach scores than those in their 70s.
Effect size was determined by a partial η2. Total scores were analyzed by a univariate test and revealed those of young women were higher than those of older women.
RESULTS: Hotelling’s Trace revealed a difference in the groups’ Accuracy and Approach scores. Univariate analyses revealed that women in their 30s performed better on Accuracy and Approach than women in their 70s.
Thus, two components of the omnibus hypothesis were confirmed. The partial η2 revealed that age had a greater effect on Accuracy than Approach. Univariate analysis revealed younger women had higher Total scores than older women. Thus, the third component of the omnibus hypothesis was confirmed. These results lead one to conclude women in their 70s have poorer visual–motor skills than women in their 30s and the DC Test is sufficiently sensitive to discriminate between performances of younger women and those of older women.
DISCUSSION: Results confirmed that typical women in their 70s perform copying tasks more poorly than those in their 30s and that age affects their accuracy more than approach. These results have important clinical applications. More than 23 million women in the United States are older than age 65, and OTs will increasingly be called on to evaluate and treat elderly women. They need reliable and valid assessments on which to base decisions. These results suggest the DC Test can fulfill that need and can provide important information about visual–motor skills of that population, such as copying.
IMPACT STATEMENT: OTs work with older women with visual–motor problems and need valid tools to help them assess those skills. This known-groups construct validity study reveals the DC Test is sufficiently sensitive to be used with elderly women to assess those skills.