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Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Health Research Methodology

Supervisor

Parminder Raina

Language

English

Abstract

There is a lack of consensus on the definition and measurement of successful aging. The objectives of this thesis were: (1) to conduct a systematic scoping review of the literature to identify indicators of successful aging; (2) to understand the underlying latent constructs of indicators identified in objective 1 using data from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA); and (3) to examine the split-half reliability and stability of the constructs identified in objective 2.

Six databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, Sociological Abstracts, AgeLine) were searched for English language primary studies that included an operational definition of successful aging and were published between January 2000 and September 2010. Indicators were extracted from 63 studies and used to guide the selection of variables from the CSHA. Exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modelling were used to develop and evaluate a measurement model in 1,347 community-dwelling adults aged 75 to 102 from the CSHA. The reliability and stability of the model was assessed in an independent sample of 1,337 CSHA participants.

A four-factor solution of Perceived Well-being, Physical Ability, General Health Status and Social Functioning constructs fit the data adequately. Evaluation of the model using an independent sample revealed comparable parameter estimates and fit statistics, therefore suggesting reliability and stability of the constructs.

This thesis presents a unique contribution by suggesting and testing a theoretically meaningful four-factor model of successful aging in a large population-based sample. The findings contribute to our understanding of how indicators operate together to define successful aging in a cohort of Canadian seniors.

McMaster University Library

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