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Open Access Research

Psychometric properties of the OLQ-13 scale to measure Sense of Coherence in a community-dwelling older population

Jenneken Naaldenberg1*, Hilde Tobi2, Franciska van den Esker1 and Lenneke Vaandrager1

Author Affiliations

1 Health and Society group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1 Wageningen, The Netherlands

2 Research Methodologies Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1 Wageningen. The Netherlands

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2011, 9:37  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-9-37

Published: 23 May 2011

Abstract

Background

With the ongoing demographic shift, the quality of life and health promotion among older individuals are becoming increasingly important. Recent research suggests that Sense of Coherence positively affects quality of life. Hence, a valid and reliable measurement of Sense of Coherence is pivotal. The 13-item Orientation to Life Questionnaire (OLQ-13) can be used to measure Sense of Coherence. The purpose of the present study is to assess the psychometric properties, validity, and reliability, of the OLQ-13 in community-dwelling individuals, aged 65 and older.

Methods

The OLQ-13 scale was administered as part of a healthy aging project for non-institutionalized people aged 65 years and older. Internal consistency and reliability were assessed by means of inter-item and test-halves correlations and Cronbach's alpha. Construct validity was explored using cluster analysis and exploratory factor analysis (n = 703) and tested using confirmatory factor analysis on a separate subset of individuals (n = 658). Item face validity was investigated by means of 12 semi-structured interviews.

Results

The reliability and the validity of the OLQ-13 in this population of non-institutionalized individuals aged 65 years and older was ambiguous, at least partly due to the poor performance of two items (b and d), which was confirmed by results from the qualitative part of this study. The psychometric properties of the proposed OLQ-11, obtained by deleting the two items, were better. In particular, the interpretation of exploratory factor solution improved. Whereas the underlying theoretical constructs could not be linked to the exploratory analyses of OLQ-13, this was to some extent possible in OLQ-11. The superior validity of OLQ-11 over OLQ-13 was supported by the better model fit in the confirmatory factor analysis.

Conclusions

The present mixed-method study suggests the proposed OLQ-11 as a more suitable instrument for measuring Sense of Coherence than the OLQ-13 in a population of ageing individuals. This study confirms that the validity and reliability of OLQ-13 may differ substantially in different populations.