Attitudes Toward Aging Among Patients With Upper Extremity Illness

Hand (N Y). 2019 Aug 5;1558944719866872. doi: 10.1177/1558944719866872. Online ahead of print.


Background: An adaptive attitude toward aging might limit symptom intensity and magnitude of limitations. This study sought factors associated with attitudes toward aging (measured with the Brief Aging Perceptions Questionnaire [B-APQ]) and studied the relationship of having an age-related disease to magnitude of limitations, pain intensity, patient satisfaction, and patient comfort with completing a questionnaire about attitudes toward aging. We also looked for a subset of questions from B-APQ that maintained the construct validity and internal consistency of B-APQ, without unacceptable flooring or ceiling effects. Methods: A total of 161 upper extremity patients completed the following questionnaires: B-APQ, Patient Health Questionnaire-Short Form, Pain Self-efficacy-Short Form, Pain Catastrophizing Scale-Short Form, Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Physical Function-Upper Extremity, pain intensity, satisfaction with the surgeon, and comfort with completing the B-APQ. We created multivariable linear regression models to test for associations. Results: Factors independently associated with less positive perceptions about aging included white race, retired work status, having nonspecific comorbidities, and more catastrophic thinking. Variation in the magnitude of limitations and pain intensity was accounted for by effectiveness of coping strategies rather than attitudes toward aging in particular. A 4-question version of the B-APQ has acceptable performance. Conclusion: Adaptive attitudes toward aging are associated with psychological and social determinants of health. We present a 4-item short form of B-APQ that could be used as a brief measure to assess attitudes toward aging. Interventions to improve adaptiveness to nociception (eg, cognitive behavioral therapy to limit catastrophic thinking) might help with adaptation to age-related changes.

Keywords: B-APQ; age-related diseases; attitudes toward aging; illness; upper extremity.