Subjective age

Attitude toward ageing


Contact: Dorly Deeg

The central theme of LASA is the change in functioning with ageing. Importantly, functioning is examined both objectively and from the point of view of the respondent himself or herself. Thus, the respondents are asked how they evaluate their functioning. However, in a study of ageing it is of particular interest to examine how ageing itself is perceived by older people, and in particular, how older people perceive the influence of ageing on their social condition.

At the time, a five-item questionnaire termed “Attitude Toward Own Aging” existed as a subscale of the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale (Lawton 1975). However, this questionnaire has been considered biased towards negative attitudes (Laidlaw et al 2007), and moreover, did not closely fit the central aim of LASA. Thus, a short questionnaire was designed to capture older people’s perceived influence of ageing on daily functioning.

Measurement instrument in LASA
Four questions were conceived and asked in the main face-to-face interview, with the introduction:

‘We like to know your opinion about growing older. Are the following statements applicable to people who are growing older?’

Response categories were: 1) No, 2) More or less, 3) Yes:

These four items load on one factor (variance explained 45.8%) and form a scale with reasonable reliability (Cronbach’s alpha 0.606).

For men and women, M (sd) are 8.2 (2.4) and 8.3 (2.4), respectively. These means are not significantly different (p=0.298).

The ATA-scale is weakly associated with age (r=0.047, p=0.012), but not with time to death as measured up to September 1, 2011 (Cox hazard ratio 1.01 with CI 0.99-1.03).

LASAB071 (main interview, in Dutch)

Variable information

Availability of information per wave1 













Attitude Toward Ageing












1 More information about the LASA data collection waves is available on:

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
  3B=baseline third cohort;
  MB=migrants: baseline first cohort (Under Construction);
  I=Under Construction

Ma=data collected in main interview

Previous use in LASA
So far, no use has been made of the ATA-scale.


  1. Laidlaw, K., Power, M.J., Schmidt, S. and the WHOQOL-OLD Group (2007). The attitudes to ageing questionnaire (AAQ): development and psychometric properties. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22: 367–379.
  2. Lawton, M. P. (1975). The Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale: A revision. Journal of Gerontology, 30, 85–89.