Measuring Risk Perception in Later Life: The Perceived Risk Scale

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Risk perception is a subjective assessment of the actual or potential threat to one's life or, more broadly, to one's psychological well-being. Given the various risks associated with later life, a valid and reliable integrative screening tool for assessing risk perception among the elderly is warranted.

OBJECTIVES:

The study examined the psychometric properties and factor structure of a new integrative risk perception instrument, the Perceived Risk Scale. This eight-item measure refers to various risks simultaneously, including terror, health issues, traffic accidents, violence, and financial loss, and was developed specifically for older adults.

DESIGN:

An online survey was conducted with 306 participants aged 50 years and older. The scale was examined using exploratory factor analysis and concurrent validity testing.

RESULTS:

Factor analysis revealed a two-factor structure: later-life risks and terror risks. A high percentage of explained variance, as well as internal consistency, was found for the entire scale and for both factors. Concurrent validity was supported by significant positive associations with participants' depression and negative correlations with their life satisfaction.

CONCLUSION:

These findings suggest that the Perceived Risk Scale is internally reliable, valid, and appropriate for evaluating risk perception in later life. The scale's potential applications are discussed.

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