An investigation of the relationships between perceived age discrimination, personality and quality of life: Validation and implementation of the Perceived Age Discrimination scale.
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The problem of age discrimination is relatively new to psychology and is a topic which has been under-researched. The present study aimed to provide a better understanding of age discrimination by exploring the correlates of perceived age discrimination including personality traits and quality of life. Currently, there is no psychometrically sound instrument which is capable of measuring perceived age discrimination. Therefore, a second aim of this study was to create an instrument that would measure perceptions of age discrimination, and allow linking of perceived age discrimination to other psychological outcomes. The final version of the Perceived Age Discrimination (PAD) scale consisted of 25 items and had high internal consistency (alpha = 0.90). Principal Components Analysis revealed that the scale had two factors: General Discrimination (18 items) and Institutional Discrimination (7 items) which accounted for 41% of the total variance. A sample (N = 109) of older adults completed the PAD scale together with measures of personality, health, and quality of life. Multivariate analyses were carried out to explore relationships between these variables, and to examine the predictive validity of the scale. Perceived age discrimination was a significant independent predictor of two domains of quality of life: social relationships and environment. The other two domains, physical and psychological health, and self-reported health were predicted by personality variables (self-esteem, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and intellect). Neither of the Big Five personality traits correlated with perceived age discrimination. The study adds to the current understanding of age discrimination by showing that the perception of being discriminated against on the basis of one’s age is associated with reduced quality of life.