Revising the Gerotranscendence Scale for use with older adults in the southern United States and establishing properties of the Reised Gerotranscendence Scale

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel W. Cozort (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Anita Tesh

Abstract: Healthcare providers have long recognized that people change over the course of their lives. Early developmental theorists focused on changes across childhood. More recently, theorists and providers of elder care have attempted to define how older adults mature. Lars Tornstam, professor of sociology at Uppsala University in Sweden, developed the Theory of Gerotranscendence, which posits that the developmental tasks for older adults include gaining perspective on past life events, attaining wisdom, and preparing for death. The Theory of Gerotranscendence may lead to a more balanced understanding of how older adults continue to mature at the end of life. Tornstam also developed the Gerotranscendence Scale (GS) for use in Sweden and Denmark. A culturally appropriate and psychometrically sound tool is needed to explore gerotranscendence in the southern United States. The purpose of this study was to revise the GS for use with older adults in the southern United States. Tornstam's Theory of Gerotranscendence and Measurement Theory were used to guide the study. This triangulated mixed-methods methodological study was conducted in two phases. The purpose of Phase I was to ascertain if items on the GS were understandable to older adults in the southern United States and to reword the items as necessary. Two focus groups of older adults (n=17) were convened to review the items. Group consensus was used to revise the scale. Both scoring and wording were changed in the resulting revised scale (GS-R). The purpose of Phase II was to examine selected psychometric properties of the GS-R. An expert panel reviewed the GS-R for content validity. The GS-R was administered to 124 older adults, along with the Life Satisfaction Inventory in Aging (LSI-A), the Purpose in Life Test (PILT) and Successful Aging Inventory (SAI). Two weeks later the GS-R was re-administered to 90 of the respondents. The GS-R was found to have adequate test-retest reliability (r = .53, p < .001), internal consistency reliability (alpha = 0.61), face validity, and content validity (CVI = 0.86). Tests of hypotheses provided preliminary support of construct validity. However, several items on the GS-R were found to be problematic and reliability for some subscales was low. Results suggest that gerotranscendence may be a measurable construct in southern older adults, but the scale needs further revision. Results also raise the question about use of reverse scored items with this population.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Gerotranscendence, Gerotranscendence scale, Older adults, Psychometrics, Reliability, Theory of Gerotranscendence
Older people $x Psychology.
Social maturity scales.
Self-realization in old age.
Maturation (Psychology)
Self-actualization (Psychology)
Life cycle, Human $x Psychological aspects.
Life cycle, Human $x Social aspects.

Email this document to