Title

Development and Initial Validation of the Anxiety About Aging Scale

Date of Award

1987

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Patricia J. Faulkender

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Current research on anxiety about aging is plagued with inadequate construct delineation and assessment devices. The purpose of the present study was to develop the Anxiety about Aging Scale (AAS) to assess four dimensions of aging (physical, psychological, social, and transpersonal) and three types of fears (of the process of aging, of the state of being old, and of old people). The AAS was given to 312 adult volunteers, ages 18 to 85, solicited through undergraduate university classes and a local foster grandparent program. Subjects completed the AAS at home, and returned it by mail. Principal Components analysis revealed the presence of four interpretable factors: (a) Fear of Old People, (b) Psychological Concerns, (c) Physical Appearance, and (d) Fear of Loss. Items on the scale were then eliminated to strengthen this factor structure and resulted in the retention of 20 items. Scores on this measure suggested that men are significantly more anxious about aging than are women and that anxiety about aging may change qualitatively, but not quantitatively, with age. The conclusion of the study was that continued research in the area would facilitate a better understanding of attitudes toward and treatment of the elderly, as well as fostering the continued delineation of developmental issues in adulthood.