Perceptions of aging have been found to independently contribute to various aspects of health and wellbeing in old age. Since valid and reliable perceptions of aging instruments are unavailable in Dutch, these associations have not yet been tested in the Netherlands. This study examined the reliability and construct validity of the Dutch-language version of the 7-dimension Aging Perceptions Questionnaire (APQ). Furthermore, in order to decrease the response burden, while retaining the APQ’s original factor structure, a short version of the APQ (APQ-S) was developed as an alternative to the 5-dimension Brief APQ (B-APQ).
A Dutch translated version of the APQ was administered to a large sample of community-dwelling elders in the Netherlands, aged 70 to 99 ( n = 1280), alongside measures of wellbeing and physical functioning.
Confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the multidimensionality of the APQ. APQ scales were found to have good reliability and acceptable construct validity, yet several areas of localized strain were detected. These areas were addressed during item reduction, resulting in the 21-item APQ-S with an acceptable reliability and validity and a better overall model fit. While several notable differences were found, APQ-S results were largely comparable to that of the 5-dimension B-APQ.
With its multidimensional nature and acceptable psychometric properties, the Dutch language version of the APQ may prove to be an invaluable instrument to assess the seven perceptions of aging dimensions among older populations for geriatric research. However, use of a shortened version is advised, as these are less labor intensive and areas of localized strain are addressed. The choice between the APQ-S and the B-APQ should be based on theoretical and practical considerations concerning the dimensional structure most suitable for the study.