TitleSelf-Perceptions of Aging: Factorial Structure and Invariance by Gender.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsTurner, SG, Hooker, K, Geldhof, GJ
Date Published06/2020

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Self-perceptions of aging (SPA)-the appraisals people place on their own aging processes-predict well-being in later life. Researchers are increasingly hypothesizing that the overarching construct of SPA is comprised of two factors-positive SPA and negative SPA-and that SPA are gendered. The purpose of this study was to empirically test the hypothesized two-factor structure of SPA and to analyze how the two-factor structure varies between men and women.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Data come from the 2012 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (N = 7,029; Mage = 68.08), which includes an 8-item SPA scale. We used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to assess (i) the positive SPA and negative SPA two-factor solution for the 8-item scale and (ii) whether the two-factor solution had configural, strong, or weak invariance across men and women.

RESULTS: CFAs indicated a two-factor latent structure of the 8-item scale, with SPA being comprised of both a positive SPA factor and a negative SPA factor. The latent structure was the same for both men and women.

DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Results suggest that SPA is a broader construct made up of positive and negative latent factors. Researchers should consider separating the SPA by positive and negative factors to analyze how each factor uniquely shapes health. Moreover, the two-factor solution was equivalent across men and women, possibly because of the generalized nature of the 8-item scale. Researchers can use the 8-item scale similarly for men and women and should continue to elucidate possible gender differences in SPA.

Alternate JournalGerontologist
PubMed ID32578845