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Several studies have shown the influence of the perceptions of aging on the cognitive functioning and the mental and physical health of older people. These relationships have not to date been studied in France where validated instruments are lacking. The primary objective of this study was to validate a French-language version of the Aging Perceptions Questionnaire (APQ) in the French general population aged 65 and over. The secondary objective was to study the stability of the dimensions of this instrument among participants aged 55 to 64.
The study was proposed to the cohort of the Observatoire Régional du Vieillissement (OPREVI) (observatory of aging), located in a small town in Poitou-Charentes (western France). An anonymous questionnaire including the APQ was sent by mail to inhabitants aged 55 and over. The original English language APQ was described with adults aged 65 and older. It has 32 items distributed on 7 dimensions: timeline chronic and cyclical, positive and negative consequences, positive and negative control and emotional representations.
656 adults participated in this survey (286 men, 370 women). Among those aged 65 and over (n=394), the seven-factor structure estimated by confirmatory factor analysis was coherent with original findings. Internal consistency as evaluated by Cronbach alpha, was between 0.83 for consequences negative and 0.52 for control negative. Several dimensions were strongly correlated. Among participants aged 55 to 64 (n=262), the same factorial model yielded an acceptable fit. Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis concluded to approximate factorial invariance between the two age groups with a null delta in comparative fit index.
This study among French people aged 65 and over, added further evidence of the multidimensional structure of the French version of the APQ which is superimposed to the dimensions of the original Irish version. The same factorial structure applies acceptably to the younger group (aged 55–64). The OPREVI study is ongoing, and will collect data on the physical, material and social characteristics of participants. It will therefore be possible to analyse the variables associated with the perceptions of aging. On the basis of an individual's perceptions of aging as captured by this questionnaire, and his or her clinical profile, tailored multi-dimensional assistance could be made available aiming to provide incentives to anticipate or to adapt to difficulties.