Publications by authors named "Roman Kaspar"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

WWII traumatic events, subjective well-being and valuation of life in the very old.

Z Gerontol Geriatr 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Chair of Rehabilitative Gerontology, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Cologne, Herbert-Lewin-Str. 2, 50931, Cologne, Germany.

Background: Experiencing war is a major trigger for physical and mental health problems. People in the German population who are currently over 80 years of age experienced the Second World War (WWII) as children or adolescents, at a time when psychological vulnerability is high. Empirical results show that positive subjective well-being (SWB) and valuation of life (VoL) in older cohorts are widespread; however, when confronted with existential age-associated changes, many older adults experience increased burden, sometimes bringing biographical vulnerabilities to the forefront. This study investigated SWB and VoL in the very old and examined the influence of negative WWII experiences on these outcomes.

Method: Cross-sectional data from the "Survey on quality of life and subjective well-being of the very old in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW80+)" are presented. Multiple regression models, adjusted for gender, age, physical health, and full inpatient care, were computed to assess the impact of suffering from the effects of WWII traumatic experiences on SWB and VoL.

Results: Over 13% spontaneously reported suffering from the effects of WWII events and an additional 29% reported negative experiences when explicitly asked about them. Multiple regression models showed elevated depression scores for participants suffering from the effects of WWII traumatic events. No association with positive affect was found. Suffering from the effects of WWII traumatic events did not influence VoL engagement with life or VoL optimism.

Discussion: Many very old adults still seem to struggle with the repercussions of WWII traumatic experiences. Future studies could further examine if the missing association with positive affect and VoL is a sign of resilience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00391-021-01906-7DOI Listing
June 2021

Advancing health literacy measurement in old age.

Health Promot Int 2021 Jan 19. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Institute of Applied Research, Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Freiburg, Germany.

Health literacy is described as a domain of competence across the life-span, gaining particular prominence in light of age-associated health restrictions. However, no specific measurement approach has been proposed for old age. The aim of this study is to augment the existing HLS-EU-Q16 scale (16 items) by items sensitive to age-specific aspects of health literacy to ensure validity and reliability for use in old age. In a first step, the HLS-EU-Q16 was administered in a sample of 463 individuals aged 72 - 92 years. Psychometric properties were evaluated using confirmatory factor analysis and item-response-theory item fit statistics. Scale reliability was found to be poor in this population segment. In a second step, age-specific items were developed based on qualitative in-depth interviews with older persons. In a third step, we tested if the additional set of age-specific items was able to enhance a valid and reliable measurement of health literacy in a second sample of older adults (N = 107, 49 - 91 years). With the inclusion of an eight-item add-on, it was possible to measure health literacy in old and very old age with both high validity and satisfying precision (reliability = 0.80). The study contributes to a population-specific measurement of health literacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daaa137DOI Listing
January 2021

International relevance of two measures of awareness of age-related change (AARC).

BMC Geriatr 2020 09 21;20(1):359. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

College of Medicine and Health, REACH, University of Exeter, South Cloisters, St Luke's Campus, Exeter, EX12LU, UK.

Background: A questionnaire assessing awareness of positive and negative age-related changes (AARC gains and losses) was developed in the US and Germany. We validated the short form of the measure (AARC-10 SF) and the cognitive functioning subscale from the 50-item version of the AARC (AARC-50) questionnaire in the UK population aged 50 and over.

Methods: Data from 9410 participants (Mean (SD) age = 65.9 (7.1)) in the PROTECT cohort were used to explore and confirm the psychometric properties of the AARC measures including: validity of the factor structure; reliability; measurement invariance across men and women, individuals with and without a university degree, and in middle age, early old age, and advanced old age; and convergent validity with measures of self-perception of aging and mental, physical, and cognitive health. We explored the relationship between demographic variables (age, sex, marital status, employment, and university education) and AARC.

Results: We confirmed the two-factor structure (gains and losses) of the AARC-10 SF and the AARC-50 cognitive functioning subscale. Both scales showed good reliability and good convergent validity for AARC losses, but weak convergent validity for AARC gains. For both scales metric invariance was held for the two subgroups defined by education level and age. For the AARC-50 subscale, but not for the AARC-10 SF, strong invariance was also held for the two subgroups defined by sex. Age, sex, marital status, employment, and university education predicted AARC gains and losses.

Conclusions: The AARC-10 SF and AARC-50 cognitive functioning subscale identify UK individuals who perceive age-related changes in their mental, physical, and cognitive health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12877-020-01767-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7507664PMC
September 2020

Non-response in surveys of very old people.

Eur J Ageing 2019 Jun 3;16(2):249-258. Epub 2018 Sep 3.

3Ceres - Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Very old people are known to participate less often in social surveys than younger age-groups. However, survey participation among very old people in institutional settings is understudied. Additionally, the focus of the literature is on response rates, which neglects the complexity of the process of survey participation. The present study uses standard definitions of the American Association for Public Opinion Research to give a detailed description of survey participation among very old people, including those in institutional settings. Data come from a German survey on quality of life and subjective well-being of persons aged 80-84, 85-89, and 90+ ( = 1800). The present study (a) estimates contact, cooperation, response, and refusal rates and (b) identifies associations of age, sex, and type of residence with each of these rates. Weighted outcome rates for the survey were: contact = 66.0%, cooperation = 39.6%, response = 26.1%, and refusal = 26.9%. Age, sex, and type of residence were not associated with the contact, cooperation, and response rate. Lower refusal rates were found for people aged 90+, men, and institutionalized people. Additional analyses showed higher rates of non-interviews due to health-related reasons for institutionalized people and those aged 90+. Overall, results indicate that institutionalized and non-institutionalized people showed similar levels of survey participation. Willingness to participate is a key factor for women and people in private households, while the ability to participate is more important for institutionalized people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-018-0488-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6509316PMC
June 2019

Correction to: Non-response in surveys of very old people.

Eur J Ageing 2019 03 15;16(1):131-132. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

3Ceres - Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1007/s10433-018-0488-x.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-018-0489-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6397109PMC
March 2019

Measuring Awareness of Age-Related Change: Development of a 10-Item Short Form for Use in Large-Scale Surveys.

Gerontologist 2019 05;59(3):e130-e140

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Background And Objectives: Existing measures of subjective aging have been useful in predicting developmental outcomes. Unlike other constructs of subjective aging, Awareness of Age-Related Change (AARC) focuses on how adults' self-perceptions of aging result in an awareness of age-related gains and losses. We developed a 10-item short form (SF) of the existing 50-item AARC questionnaire as a reliable, valid, and parsimonious solution for use primarily in large-scale surveys but also in applied contexts.

Research Design And Methods: AARC was assessed in a German and North American sample of 819 individuals. Item selection for the suggested AARC-10 SF was based on multidimensional item response theory (MIRT). Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test for measurement invariance (MI) across groups of participants in middle age (40-69 years), early old age (70-79 years), and advanced age (80+ years). Concurrent and discriminant validity in old age was assessed with regard to established measures of subjective aging, well-being, and health.

Results: The AARC-10 SF showed adequate fit to the data and reliability for the perceived gains and losses composites. Valid comparison of latent means was confirmed for early old and advanced age respondents and with some reservation also for middle-aged individuals due to partial MI. Concurrent and discriminant validity were confirmed.

Discussion And Implications: The proposed AARC-10 SF offers an economic device to measure AARC and use the construct as an antecedent or outcome in the context of substantive model testing in large-scale survey data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnx213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524483PMC
May 2019

Improving Quality of Work life for Care Providers by Fostering the Emotional well-being of Persons with Dementia: A Cluster-randomized Trial of a Nursing Intervention in German long-term Care Settings.

Dementia (London) 2019 May 17;18(4):1286-1309. Epub 2017 Mar 17.

Institute of Gerontology, University of Heidelberg, Germany; Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Canada.

We tested the feasibility of a nursing intervention (DEMIAN) in routine care and its effects on care providers' job satisfaction, motivation, and work strain. This cluster-randomized trial was conducted in 20 German long-term care facilities. We randomly assigned 20 facilities to an intervention group (84 care providers, 42 residents with dementia) or a control group (96 care providers, 42 residents with dementia). Intervention group providers received two training days on the intervention; 68 providers attended both training days. Sixty two providers completed both baseline and follow-up questionnaires. Trained providers created individualized mini-intervention plans for participating residents. Control group residents received 'usual care'. Intervention group providers stated that the intervention was feasible and helped them improve emotional well-being of residents with dementia. We found significantly decreased time pressure and decreased job dissatisfaction for intervention group providers. DEMIAN is an effective and pragmatic contribution to implementing person-centred care in long-term care, with positive effects on providers' working conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1471301217698837DOI Listing
May 2019

Improved Housing Accessibility for Older People in Sweden and Germany: Short Term Costs and Long-Term Gains.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017 08 26;14(9). Epub 2017 Aug 26.

Department of Health Sciences & Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments (CASE), Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden.

The physical housing environment is important to facilitate activities of daily living (ADL) for older people. A hindering environment may lead to ADL dependence and thus increase the need for home services, which is individually restricting and a growing societal burden. This study presents simulations of policy changes with regard to housing accessibility that estimates the potential impact specifically on instrumental activities of daily living (I-ADL), usage of home services, and related costs. The models integrate empirical data to test the hypothesis that a policy providing funding to remove the five most severe environmental barriers in the homes of older people who are at risk of developing dependence in I-ADL, can maintain independence and reduce the need for home services. In addition to official statistics from state agencies in Sweden and Germany, we utilized published results from the ENABLE-AGE and other scientific studies to generate the simulations. The simulations predicted that new policies that remove potentially hindering housing features would improve I-ADL performance among older people and reduce the need for home services. Our findings suggest that a policy change can contribute to positive effects with regard to I-ADL independence among older people and to a reduction of societal burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14090964DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5615501PMC
August 2017

Quality of life of the very old : Survey on quality of life and subjective well-being of the very old in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW80+).

Z Gerontol Geriatr 2018 Feb 22;51(2):193-199. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Faculty of Humanities, Rehabilitative Gerontology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Background: In Germany, the very old are the most rapidly growing proportion of the population. A comprehensive investigation of the conditions for a good quality of life in this group is relevant for both society and politics.

Objective: The project "Quality of life and subjective well-being of the very old in North Rhine-Westphalia" (NRW80+) at the University of Cologne surveys quality of life of the very old. Taking into account many specific methodological and theoretical challenges, it aims at setting up a specific theoretical framework and methodological approach.

Methods: Existing studies on quality of life in old age in Germany and abroad as well as models on quality of life are reviewed with respect to their relevance for the very old and their specific living conditions, needs and interests. A theoretical framework of quality of life in very old age is developed. The NRW80+ study combines three levels: the empirical level of description of life situations and conditions, the explanative level of evaluating models of quality of life and the normative level of societal and ethical standards and norms.

Results: Considering results of recently conducted studies with the very old, an integrative conceptual model for studying quality of life of very old persons is introduced. In the model of challenges and potentials (CHAPO), environmental and individual factors as well as life chances and life results are thereby taken into consideration from a subjective as well as an objective point of view, supplemented by the concept of successful life conduct.

Conclusion: Starting from the CHAPO model of quality of life, the representative study NRW80+ aims at challenging methodological standards for the inclusion of the very old in social research thus providing the basis for further research as well as for sustainable social politics especially for the very old.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00391-017-1217-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801376PMC
February 2018

Assessing capacity to consent to treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors in dementia using a specific and standardized version of the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool (MacCAT-T).

Int Psychogeriatr 2017 02 9;29(2):333-343. Epub 2016 Nov 9.

Institute of General Practice,Goethe University,Theodor-Stern-Kai 7,60590 Frankfurt,Germany.

Background: The use of assessment tools has been shown to improve the inter-rater reliability of capacity assessments. However, instrument-based capacity assessments of people with dementia face challenges. In dementia research, measuring capacity with instruments like the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Treatment (MacCAT-T) mostly employ hypothetical treatment vignettes that can overwhelm the abstraction capabilities of people with dementia and are thus not always suitable for this target group. The primary aim of this study was to provide a standardized real informed consent paradigm that enables the dementia-specific properties of capacity to consent to treatment in people with dementia to be identified in a real informed consent process that is both externally valid and ethically justifiable.

Methods: The sample consisted of 53 people with mild to moderate dementia and a group of 133 people without cognitive impairment. Rather than using a hypothetical treatment vignette, we used a standardized version of the MacCAT-T to assess capacity to consent to treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors in people with dementia. Inter-rater reliability, item statistics, and psychometric properties were also investigated.

Results: Intraclass correlations (ICCs) (0.951-0.990) indicated high inter-rater reliability of the standardized real informed consent paradigm. In the dementia group, performance on different items of the MacCAT-T varied. Most people with dementia were able to express a treatment choice, and were aware of the need to take a tablet. Further information on the course of the disorder and the benefits and risks of the treatment were less understood, as was comparative reasoning regarding treatment alternatives.

Conclusion: The standardized real informed consent paradigm enabled us to detect dementia-specific characteristics of patients' capacity to consent to treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors. In order to determine suitable enhanced consent procedures for this treatment, we recommend the consideration of MacCAT-T results on an item level. People with dementia seem to understand only basic information. Our data indicate that one useful strategy to enhance capacity to consent is to reduce attention and memory demands as far as possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S104161021600154XDOI Listing
February 2017

Emotional competencies in geriatric nursing: empirical evidence from a computer based large scale assessment calibration study.

Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract 2016 Mar 25;21(1):105-19. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

Department of Educational Quality and Assessment, German Institute for International Educational Research, Schloßstraße 29, 60486, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The care of older people was described as involving substantial emotion-related affordances. Scholars in vocational training and nursing disagree whether emotion-related skills could be conceptualized and assessed as a professional competence. Studies on emotion work and empathy regularly neglect the multidimensionality of these phenomena and their relation to the care process, and are rarely conclusive with respect to nursing behavior in practice. To test the status of emotion-related skills as a facet of client-directed geriatric nursing competence, 402 final-year nursing students from 24 German schools responded to a 62-item computer-based test. 14 items were developed to represent emotion-related affordances. Multi-dimensional IRT modeling was employed to assess a potential subdomain structure. Emotion-related test items did not form a separate subdomain, and were found to be discriminating across the whole competence continuum. Tasks concerning emotion work and empathy are reliable indicators for various levels of client-directed nursing competence. Claims for a distinct emotion-related competence in geriatric nursing, however, appear excessive with a process-oriented perspective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10459-015-9616-yDOI Listing
March 2016

Daily mood and out-of-home mobility in older adults: does cognitive impairment matter?

J Appl Gerontol 2015 Feb 28;34(1):26-47. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.

This study explores the relationship between out-of-home behavior and daily mood of community-dwelling older adults with different levels of cognitive impairment across four consecutive weeks. The sample included 16 persons with early stage Alzheimer's disease (AD), 30 persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 95 cognitively healthy persons (CH). Using a multi-method approach, GPS tracking and daily-diary data were combined on a day-to-day basis. AD and MCI adults showed lower mood than the CH group. Whereas stronger positive links between mood and out-of-home behavior were found for AD compared to the total sample on an aggregate level, predicting daily mood by person (i.e., cognition) and occasion-specific characteristics (i.e., mobility and weekday), using multilevel regression analysis revealed no corresponding effect. In conclusion, cognitive status in old age appears to impact on mobility and mood as such, rather than on the mood and out-of-home behavior connection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0733464812466290DOI Listing
February 2015

Multimorbidity's research challenges and priorities from a clinical perspective: the case of 'Mr Curran'.

Eur J Gen Pract 2014 Jun 25;20(2):139-47. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Institute of General Practice, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University , Frankfurt/Main , Germany.

Older patients, suffering from numerous diseases and taking multiple medications are the rule rather than the exception in primary care. A manifold of medical conditions are often associated with poor outcomes, and their multiple medications raise additional risks of polypharmacy. Such patients account for most healthcare expenditures. Effective approaches are needed to manage such complex patients in primary care. This paper describes the results of a scoping exercise, including a two-day workshop with 17 professionals from six countries, experienced in general practice and primary care research as well as epidemiology, clinical pharmacology, gerontology and methodology. This was followed by a consensus process investigating the challenges and core questions for multimorbidity research in primary care from a clinical perspective and presents examples of the best research practice. Current approaches in measuring and clustering multimorbidity inform policy-makers and researchers, but research is needed to provide support in clinical decision making. Multimorbidity presents a complexity of conditions leading to individual patient's needs and demanding complex processes in clinical decision making. The identification of patterns presupposes the development of strategies on how to manage multimorbidity and polypharmacy. Interventions have to be complex and multifaceted, and their evaluation poses numerous methodological challenges in study design, outcome measurement and analysis. Overall, it can be seen that complexity is a main underlying theme. Moreover, flexible study designs, outcome parameters and evaluation strategies are needed to account for this complexity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/13814788.2013.839651DOI Listing
June 2014

Natural occurrence of subjective aging experiences in community-dwelling older adults.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2014 Mar 16;69(2):174-87. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Correspondence should be addressed to Martina Miche, Department of Psychological Aging Research, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Straße 20, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany. E-mail:

Objectives: The subjective experience of aging is a relevant correlate of developmental outcomes. However, traditional approaches fall short of capturing the inherent multidimensionality of subjective aging experiences (SAEs). Based on the concept of Awareness of Age-Related Change (AARC; Diehl, M. K., & Wahl, H.-W. (2010). Awareness of age-related change: Examination of a (mostly) unexplored concept. Journals of Gerontology: Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 65, 340-350. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbp110), this study provides a description of SAEs that is facet rich, and based on their natural occurrence, analyzes interindividual differences and associations with well-being.

Method: Data came from 225 participants (70-88 years) of the ongoing BEWOHNT study. Open-ended diary entries about age-related experiences were collected for more than 14 days and coded according to AARC domains and subdomains.

Results: Seventy percent of all participants had SAEs about physical functioning. About half of the sample reported experiences in the domains interpersonal relations, social-emotional and social-cognitive functioning (COGN-EMOT), and lifestyle. Thirty percent experienced aging in terms of changes in cognitive functioning. Contents of SAEs varied by gender, age group, and functional status. SAEs about COGN-EMOT were most consistently related to affective components of subjective well-being.

Discussion: Our results demonstrate the benefits of an open-ended approach to a multidimensional understanding of SAEs. Content-related, social-cognitive and social-emotional changes more than functional age-related changes were most important for well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbs164DOI Listing
March 2014

Interplay of cognitive and motivational resources for out-of-home behavior in a sample of cognitively heterogeneous older adults: findings of the SenTra project.

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2013 Sep 29;68(5):691-702. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Department of Psychological Ageing Research, Heidelberg University, Bergheimer Straße 20, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany.

Objectives: We examined in this study the hypothesis that cognitive resources are more closely linked with out-of-home behavior than motivational resources.

Method: A cognitively heterogeneous sample of 222 older adults aged 59-91 years (M = 72.7; SD = 6.2), including 146 cognitively healthy persons and 76 persons with mild cognitive impairment-recruited in the German and Israeli arm of the SenTra project-was used for the analysis. Out-of-home behavior was assessed by means of global positioning system technology (time out of home; number of nodes visited) as well as by questionnaire (out-of-home activities). Mini-Mental State Examination and trail-making tests A and B were used to assess cognitive resources. Well-being, depression, and environmental mastery were assessed as motivational resources.

Results: Findings at the zero-order and latent variable levels confirmed that cognitive resources were more closely linked with out-of-home behavior than motivational resources.

Discussion: Findings support the view that well-being-related motivations to exert out-of-home behavior may become less important in old age because of the increasing cognitive resources required by such behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbs106DOI Listing
September 2013

[Promoting emotional well being of patients with dementia: from "gut feeling" to nursing concept].

Pflege Z 2010 Jun;63(6):355-8

Institut für Gerontologie der Universität Heidelberg.

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June 2010

Psychometric properties of the German "Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale" (PAINAD-G) in nursing home residents.

J Am Med Dir Assoc 2007 Jul 14;8(6):388-95. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Diakonie Hospital Mannheim, Germany.

Objectives: The study aims to evaluate the psychometric properties of the German version of a scale for the assessment of pain in advanced dementia (PAINAD-G).

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Eight nursing homes.

Participants: Ninety-nine residents in 8 nursing homes diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (68.3%) or other types of dementia (31.7%) participated after informed consent was obtained from their proxies. Nurses in charge of the residents observed their pain behavior over a 2-minute period while performing routine nursing activities--once in the morning and once in the evening.

Measurements: PAINAD-G relies on the observation of 5 behavioral categories indicative of pain: breathing, vocalization, facial expression, body language, and consolability.

Results: Psychometric analyses revealed good internal consistency of the scale (Cronbach's alpha = 0.85). Inter-rater stability amounted to r = 0.80 and retest reliability to r = 0.90. Principal component analysis allowed the extraction of one factor that accounted for 63.5% of the cumulative factor variance. Validity data shows that PAINAD-G scores were higher in residents assumed to suffer from pain in comparison to those without pain. On the other hand, the level of pain rating did not correspond with the PAINAD-G scores. Residents rated to suffer from pain showed more pain behavior with increased cognitive deterioration. Measures that indicate nonpain disorders did not correlate with the PAINAD-G scores.

Discussion: PAINAD-G is a 1-dimensional scale that demonstrates good reliability. The outcome supports the assumption that the scale actually measures pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2007.03.002DOI Listing
July 2007

Ageing in rural areas of East and West Germany: increasing similarities and remaining differences.

Eur J Ageing 2005 Jun 10;2(2):120-130. Epub 2005 May 10.

German Centre for Research on Ageing (DZFA), University of Heidelberg, Bergheimer Strasse 20, 69126 Heidelberg, Germany.

Since unification in 1990, living conditions in Germany's "New Länder" have slowly converged to the conditions in the "Old Länder". One can assume, however, that West-East differences persist more strongly in remote rural areas neglected by economic development. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate and compare the living conditions of older adults in rural areas in East and West Germany with respect to personal and environmental resources which are important preconditions for autonomy and well-being in old age. These conditions were examined in a survey conducted in urban and rural regions of five European countries in 2000. The German rural study was carried out in the districts of Jerichow (Saxony-Anhalt) and Vogelsberg (Hesse), and included 762 men and women aged 55 years or older, randomly chosen in villages of at most 5,000 inhabitants. East-West comparison showed both similarities and differences. Similarities arose in human conditions such as subjective health, parenthood and network variety, and in environmental conditions such as home-ownership, attachment to one's home, length of residence in the same neighbourhood, and satisfaction with mobility options. Differences were found in socio-demographic conditions (e.g. education, income, household composition), basic neighbourhood features, and patterns of social and leisure activities. Regression analysis showed the differing impact of single predictor variables on life satisfaction in the East and West: satisfaction with financial situation and functional health contributes far more to older people's life satisfaction in the West German rural area, whereas mobility-related aspects affect elders' life satisfaction more strongly in the East German countryside. The findings reflect, on the one hand, continuing structural East-West differences and, on the other, diverging socio-cultural habits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-005-0029-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5547681PMC
June 2005
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