Development of the 12-Item Expectations Regarding Aging Survey

Published in: Gerontologist, v. 45, no. 2, Apr. 2005, p. 240-248

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004

by Catherine A. Sarkisian, W. Neil Steers, Ron D. Hays, Carol Mangione

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PURPOSE: This study describes the development of a short version of the Expectations Regarding Aging Survey (ERA-38), a 38-item survey measuring expectations regarding aging. DESIGN AND METHODS: In 1999, surveys containing the ERA-38 were mailed to 588 adults aged 65 years or older who were recruited through physicians; 429 individuals (73%) returned completed surveys. The mean age of participants was 77 years; 76% were White. In 2001, the authors surveyed 643 adults aged 65 years recruited at 14 senior centers. The mean age of participants was 78 years; 37% were Latino and 16% were African American. With the 1999 data, they selected items for the shorter version of the ERA-38 by using qualitative criteria and by evaluating the items' factor structure, internal consistency reliability of scales, and correlations with age and self-reported measures of health. Then, using the 2001 data, they evaluated the selected items with confirmatory factor analysis, and reevaluated the internal consistency reliability and associations of the scales with age and self-reported measures of health. RESULTS: The factor analyses of the ERA-12 on both samples provided support for three 4-item scales (expectations regarding physical health, expectations regarding mental health, and expectations regarding cognitive function), and one global expectations regarding aging scale combining all 12 items. In both samples, internal consistency reliability estimates for all scales exceeded 0.74, and the 12 items together explained over 88% of the variance in the ERA-38 total score. The authors found comparable associations of the ERA-12 scales with age and self-reported health measures in both samples. IMPLICATIONS: The ERA-12 demonstrated acceptable reliability and validity to estimate expectations regarding aging.

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