Development and Validation of a Measure of Living Standards for Older People
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Living standards are an effective way to assess socioeconomic status in relation to health but controversy remains about their assessment, particularly for older people. Sen's capability framework shifts attention from material conditions to opportunities for choice enabled by material resources. To develop this promising approach, this paper reports on the development of a measure of living standards for older people based on Sen's capability framework. Six living standards domains were established from thematic analysis of 143 interviews with people aged over 65 years in New Zealand. Questionnaire items were developed and tested to assess the extent to which older people had the freedom to pursue these domains. The 73 items were tested for face validity in interviews. Following this, a revised version was posted to 2,000 people aged over 65 years randomly selected from the New Zealand electoral roll and 1,064 completed questionnaires were returned. Item screening for response rates and spread reduced the items to 34. Confirmatory factor analysis of these 34 items suggested that the six theoretical domains were supported. Following model development, 25 items assessing the six domains were selected. Results to date show that this measure of living standards (LS-Cap) is a promising instrument to assess living standards as the freedom to access valued needs.
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