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The Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire: Mokken Scaling Analysis

Shenkin, Susan D.; Watson, Roger; Laidlaw, Ken; Starr, John M.; Deary, Ian J.


Susan D. Shenkin

Ken Laidlaw

John M. Starr

Ian J. Deary


Martin Voracek


Background: Hierarchical scales are useful in understanding the structure of underlying latent traits in many questionnaires. The Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire (AAQ) explored the attitudes to ageing of older people themselves, and originally described three distinct subscales: (1) Psychosocial Loss (2) Physical Change and (3) Psychological Growth. This study aimed to use Mokken analysis, a method of Item Response Theory, to test for hierarchies within the AAQ and to explore how these relate to underlying latent traits. Methods: Participants in a longitudinal cohort study, the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, completed a cross-sectional postal survey. Data from 802 participants were analysed using Mokken Scaling analysis. These results were compared with factor analysis using exploratory structural equation modelling. Results: Participants were 51.6% male, mean age 74.0 years (SD 0.28). Three scales were identified from 18 of the 24 items: two weak Mokken scales and one moderate Mokken scale. (1) ‘Vitality’ contained a combination of items from all three previously determined factors of the AAQ, with a hierarchy from physical to psychosocial; (2) ‘Legacy’ contained items exclusively from the Psychological Growth scale, with a hierarchy from individual contributions to passing things on; (3) ‘Exclusion’ contained items from the Psychosocial Loss scale, with a hierarchy from general to specific instances. All of the scales were reliable and statistically significant with ‘Legacy’ showing invariant item ordering. The scales correlate as expected with personality, anxiety and depression. Exploratory SEM mostly confirmed the original factor structure. Conclusions: The concurrent use of factor analysis and Mokken scaling provides additional information about the AAQ. The previously-described factor structure is mostly confirmed. Mokken scaling identifies a new factor relating to vitality, and a hierarchy of responses within three separate scales, referring to vitality, legacy and exclusion. This shows what older people themselves consider important regarding their own ageing.


Shenkin, S. D., Watson, R., Laidlaw, K., Starr, J. M., & Deary, I. J. (2014). The Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire: Mokken Scaling Analysis. PLoS ONE, 9(6), e99100.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 11, 2014
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2014
Publication Date Jun 3, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 18, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 18, 2015
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 6
Article Number ARTN e99100
Pages e99100
Keywords Mokken scaling
Public URL
Publisher URL


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Copyright Statement
© 2014 Shenkin et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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