Measuring Risk Perception in Later Life: The Perceived Risk Scale

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Rinat LIFSHITZ, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Yaacov BACHNER, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Purpose: This study aimed to initially examine the psychometric properties and factor structure of a new integrative risk perception instrument, the Perceived Risk Scale (PRS). The various existing instruments evaluating risk perception have been focusing on specific hazards/risks (e.g. environmental, technological) and evaluated hazards by measuring/assessing probability and severity by the associated adverse effect. Unlike those instruments, this nine-item scale simultaneously refers to various risks including terror, health risks, car accidents, violence and financial risks. To date, risk perception has not been evaluated as an integrative subjective broader perception, and it was hardly explored in older age. Potentially applicable to additional age groups, this tool was intentionally developed to be appropriate for older adults coping with general and age-related challenges.

Methods: The study was based on an online survey with 306 respondents aged 50 years and over, of which half resided in a high risk area (namely in region with high probability to rockets attacks). The RPS was examined using exploratory factor analysis. Concurrent validity was also examined.

Results: The EFA indicated a two-factor structure, 'later-life risks' and 'terror risks'. A high percentage of explained variance, as well as good internal consistency were found for the entire scale and for each of the factors. Concurrent validity was supported by significant positive associations with respondents' depression and negative associations with their life satisfaction.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that the RPS is reliable and valid, and appropriate for evaluation of risk perception in later life. Such evaluation may be most useful on predicting and optimizing of intervention on risk reduction and well-being in later life.