Development, Reliability, and Validity of the Expectations Regarding Aging (ERA-38) Survey

Published in: Gerontologist, v. 42, no. 4, Aug. 2002, p. 534-542

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Catherine A. Sarkisian, Ron D. Hays, Sandra H. Berry, Carol Mangione

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PURPOSE: To develop a reliable and valid instrument to measure older adults' expectations regarding aging. Design and Methods: Using focus groups, cognitive interviews, and multitrait scaling analysis, the authors developed a 38-item survey to measure expectations regarding aging (ERA-38). The survey consisted of 10 scales, each representing a domain of expectations. They mailed the survey to 588 English-speaking patients aged 65 years and older cared for by University of California, Los Angeles-affiliated physicians. RESULTS: Four hundred twenty-nine participants (73%) completed the survey. The mean age was 76 years; 54% were women. Most were White (76%). All scales other than Pain demonstrated good internal consistency reliability (alpha >/=.73) and item discrimination (>/=.80). Sixty-eight percent of respondents stated that all or most of the ERA-38 addressed things that were important. Construct validity was supported by correlations with age, activities of daily living, the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 physical and mental component scores, and the Geriatric Depression Scale. IMPLICATIONS: Considerable support for the reliability and construct validity of the ERA-38 was obtained in this field study of 429 older adults. This instrument should be useful to investigators interested in measuring expectations regarding aging among older adults.

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