chapter  9
12 Pages

The Ecology of Adaptation to a New Environment *

WithM. Powell Lawton, Beverly Patnaik, Morton H. Kleban

This chapter examines some aspects of the use of space and objects by people faced with the demand to adapt to an environmental change not of their own choosing. The most general hypothesis was that they would alter spatial behavior in a manner that would help them deal with an ostensibly stressful experience. The study of the adaptation process in relatively dependent older people constitutes only one aspect of more general problem of relocation as discussed with respect to migration of groups of all ages, of individual moving and relatively healthy older people living in the community. The chapter shows that behavior would change in such a way as: to maximize the opportunity for reorientation to a new environment and to minimize the risk of anxiety-arousing consequences of too-sudden exposure to new environmental stimuli. One aspect of reorientation to a new environment by a person of low competence involves his restricting his behavioral range, remaining close to his home territory.