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Open Access Research article

Development of the Brief Ageing Perceptions Questionnaire (B-APQ): a confirmatory factor analysis approach to item reduction

Eithne Sexton1*, Bellinda L King-Kallimanis2, Karen Morgan3 and Hannah McGee1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

2 Department of Medical Gerontology, TILDA Project, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

3 Perdana University–Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Geriatrics 2014, 14:44  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-44

Published: 9 April 2014

Abstract

Background

This paper aimed to develop a short version of the 32-item Ageing Perceptions Questionnaire (APQ), a multi-dimensional measure based on Leventhal's self-regulation model. Ageing perceptions are a key area of interest for large-scale surveys of ageing populations. As these studies capture a broad range of health and social variables, included instruments need to be as concise as possible.

Methods

Data from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA), a representative sample of community-dwelling individuals aged 50+ (n = 6,718), was used to revise the scale. Items for exclusion were identified by examining conceptual content, descriptive statistics, and by detecting sources of poor model fit using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Potential combinations of dimensions were also tested using CFA. Finally, we identified any dimensions that could be excluded without limiting the conceptual coverage and coherence of the scale. Model modifications were done sequentially and with regard to theoretical considerations. Internal consistency and construct validity of the concise scale were compared with the longer version.

Results

Initially, 11 items were excluded on the basis of conceptual and empirical overlap with other items. CFA indicated that the negative-control and negative-consequences dimensions could be combined, allowing us to exclude a further item from this dimension. The 5-item timeline-cyclical dimension was also excluded, as it was less well-established conceptually and empirically than the other dimensions. The final 17-item, 5-dimension model was consistent with the original conceptual model and fit the data well (chi-sq = 1433.54, df(109), p < 0.01, RMSEA = 0.04, CFI = 0.97, TLI = 0.96).

Conclusions

The Brief-APQ (B-APQ) is a concise, multi-dimensional measure of ageing perceptions, which is psychometrically valid for use with the Irish population aged 50+. The concise version preserved the internal consistency and construct validity of the original. Its brevity makes it particularly suitable for use with large-scale adult population surveys. The psychometric analysis supports the application of the self-regulation model to ageing perceptions, but also the existence of distinct "physical decline" and "ongoing development" dimensions of perceptions.

Keywords:
Ageing perceptions; Self-perceptions; Self-regulation; Confirmatory factor analysis; Item reduction