Development of the interpersonal dependency scale for older adults

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This research developed a new, theory-based measure of interpersonal dependency for use with older adults.


Group discussions were facilitated with older people along with input from a group of allied health workers to assist with the initial item selection process. Then, based on Bornstein's interactive theory of dependency, 85 items were selected for distribution to two random samples of 350 people, aged 65–90 years, from two Perth organisations (the Silver Chain Nursing Association and the Positive Ageing Foundation of Australia).


Using item-total correlations, the 85-item scale was reduced to a highly reliable, short (20-item) screening tool. Coefficient alphas ranged from 0.92–0.94.


The new interpersonal dependency measure will assist further research in the area of older adult dependency. In addition, if used as a screening tool by home-care agencies it has the potential to inform interventions.

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