LASA filenames:
LASA027 / LASA227

Contact: Almar Kok


Mastery, or “the feeling as the extent to which a person perceives himself or herself to be in control of events and ongoing situations” is considered as a psychosocial resource when coping with stressful life events. A high sense of mastery is expected to reduce psychological distress and increase well-being. For example, a higher sense of mastery in patients is associated with better psychosocial adjustment to the disease, regardless of the type or severity of their disease (Moser & Dracup, 1995).

Measurement instrument in LASA

Mastery (or sense of mastery) is measured by the Pearlin Mastery Scale (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978). Initially an abbreviated version of this scale was which consisted of 5 – all negative – items (LASA-B and LASA-C) was used, and from LASA-D onwards, all 7 items were used, including two positive items. Response categories range from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree. Mastery is part of the main interview.

Scale construction

The scale score is the sum of the recoded ratings, with a range from 5 to 25 (LASA-B and LASA-C) or 7 to 35 (from LASA-D), respectively, such that a higher rating indicates higher sense of mastery. Therefore, the five negative items are reverse coded. Because of the small number of items, no imputation is performed in case of missing items.

LASAB027 / LASAC027 / LASAD027 / LASAE027 / LAS2B027 / LASAF027 / LASAG027 / LASAH027 / LAS3B027 / LASMB027 / LASAI027 / LASAJ027 (main interview: in Dutch)

Variable information (also includes documentation on Self-esteem)
LASAB027 / LASAC027 / LASAD027 / LASAE027 / LAS2B027 / LASAF027 / LASAG027 / LASAH027 / LAS3B027 / LASMB027 / LASAI027/ LASAJ027;
LASAB227 / LASAC227 / LASAD227 / LASAE227 / LAS2B227 / LASAF227 / LASAG227 / LASAH227 / LAS3B227 / LASMB227 / LASAI227 / LASAJ227 (constructed variables)

Availability of information per wave





¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort;
K=future wave 2021-2022

Ma=data collected in main interview

Previous use within LASA

– as a continuous measure
– dichotomized at the 50th or 20th percentile of the mean score.

Within LASA different properties of mastery have been examined: the effect of coping resources on mortality (Penninx et al., 1997), the associations with hearing impairment (Kramer et al., 2002), the relation between mastery, memory complaints and subsequent cognitive impairment (Comijs et al., 2002), its role in religious involvement (Braam et al., 1997) and its relation with depression (Steunenberg et al. 2006, 2007), and emotional functioning (de Beurs et al. 2005). Sense of mastery has also been studied as a measure of adjustment to chronic diseases (Deeg & Huisman 2010). The modifying role of mastery has been examined in the relation between depression and chronic diseases (Bisschop et al., 2004) and between persistent decline in functioning and well-being (Jonker et al. 2009), as a measure for adjustment with subthreshold depression (Jeuring, Huisman, Comijs, Stek, & Beekman, 2016), in association with cosmic transcendence in later life (Braam, Galenkamp, Derkx, Aartsen, & Deeg, 2016), and its importance for work participation among older adults with depression, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis (Boot, de Kruif, Shaw, van der Beek, Deeg, & Abma, 2016). Mastery was used as a control variable in the association between perceived stress and processing speed, direct and delayed recall, semantic fluency and digit span backwards (Korten, Comijs, Penninx, & Deeg, 2017). The association between mastery and memory complaints was investigated (Klaming, Veltman, & Comijs, 2017) and its role as moderator in the relationship between gait speed and disability among Turkish and Moroccan immigrants and native Dutch older adults (Klokgieters, van Tilburg, Deeg, & Huisman, 2018). In cross-sequentially designed study, the sense of mastery was shown to increase across successive cohorts (Deeg & Huisman 2010; Drewelies, Deeg, Huisman, & Gerstorf, 2018).


  1. Beurs E de, Comijs H, Twisk JW, Sonnenberg C, Beekman AT, Deeg D. (2005) Stability and change of emotional functioning in late life: modelling of vulnerability profiles.J Affect Disord 84(1): 53-62.
  2. Bisschop MI, Kriegsman DM, Beekman AT, Deeg DJ. (2004) Chronic diseases and depression: the modifying role of psychosocial resources. Soc Sci Med 59(4): 721-733.
  3. Braam AW, Beekman AT, van Tilburg TG, Deeg DJ, van Tilburg W. (1997) Religious involvement and depression in older Dutch citizens. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 32(5): 284-291.
  4. Comijs HC, Deeg DJ, Dik MG, Twisk JW, Jonker C. (2002) Memory complaints; the association with psycho-affective and health problems and the role of personality characteristics. A 6-year follow-up study. J Affect Disord 72(2):157-165.
  5. Deeg DJH, Huisman M. Cohort differences in 3-year adaptation to health problems among Dutch middle-aged, 1992-1995 and 2002-2005. (2010). Eur J Ageing 7(3): 157-165.
  6. Drewelies J, Deeg DJH, Huisman M, Gerstorf D (2018). Perceived constraints in late midlife: Cohort differences in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Psychol Aging 33(5): 754-768. doi: 10.1037/pag0000276.
  7. Jonker AACG, Comijs HC, Knipscheer CPM, Deeg DJH (2009). The role of coping resources on change in well-being during persistent health decline. J Aging Health 21(8): 1063-1082.
  8. Kramer SE, Kapteyn TS, Kuik DJ, Deeg DJ. (2002) The association of hearing impairment and chronic diseases with psychosocial health status in older age. J Aging Health 14(1): 122-137.
  9. Moser D.K. and Dracup, K. (1995). Psychosocial recovery from a cardiac event; the influence of perceived control. Heart and Lung 24(4): 273–280.
  10. Pearlin LI and Schooler C (1978) The structure of coping. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 19: 2-21.
  11. Penninx BW, van Tilburg T, Kriegsman DM, Deeg DJ, Boeke AJ, van Eijk JT. (1997) Effects of social support and personal coping resources on mortality in older age: the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Am J Epidemiol 146(6): 510-519.
  12. Puts MTE, Lips P, Deeg DJH. (2005) Sex differences in the risk of frailty for mortality independent of disability and chronic diseases. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 53: 40-47.
  13. Steunenberg B, Beekman AT, Deeg DJ, Kerkhof AJ. (2006). Personality and the onset of depression in late life. J Affect Disord 92(2-3): 243-251.
  14. Steunenberg B, Beekman AT, Deeg DJ, Bremmer MA, Kerkhof AJ. (2007) Mastery and neuroticism predict recovery of depression in later life. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 15(3): 234-242.
  15. Jeuring, H. W., Huisman, M., Comijs, H. C., Stek, M. L., & Beekman, A. T. F. (2016). The long-term outcome of subthreshold depression in later life. Psychological medicine, 46(13), 2855-2865.
  16. Braam, A. W., Galenkamp, H., Derkx, P., Aartsen, M. J., & Deeg, D. J. (2016). Ten-Year Course of Cosmic Transcendence in Older Adults in the Netherlands. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 84(1), 44-65.
  17. Boot, C. R., de Kruif, A. T. C., Shaw, W. S., van der Beek, A. J., Deeg, D. J., & Abma, T. (2016). Factors important for work participation among older workers with depression, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis: a mixed method study. Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 26(2), 160-172.
  18. Korten, N. C., Comijs, H. C., Penninx, B. W., & Deeg, D. J. (2017). Perceived stress and cognitive function in older adults: which aspect of perceived stress is important?. International journal of geriatric psychiatry, 32(4), 439-445.
  19. Klaming, R., Veltman, D. J., & Comijs, H. C. (2017). The impact of personality on memory function in older adults—results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. International journal of geriatric psychiatry, 32(7), 798-804.
  20. Klokgieters, S. S., van Tilburg, T. G., Deeg, D. J., & Huisman, M. (2018). Resilience in the Disabling effect of gait speed among older Turkish and Moroccan immigrants and Native Dutch. Journal of aging and health, 30(5), 711-737.

Date of last update: December, 2019