Measuring psychometric characteristics of the elderly sensory responsivity questionnaire– A tool for screening sensory processing difficulties in elderly adults

Batya Engel-Yeger


Background: The function of the sensory systems decreases in the elderly. This may negatively impact the person's performance and independence in daily living. Most studies refer to the decrease in specific modalities and to sensory acuity rather than to general sensory processing in all modalities. Moreover, there is a lack of evaluation tools that focus on these general sensory processing abilities with functional daily life perspective in the elderly population.

Objectives: To examine the psychometric characteristics of the Elderly Adult Sensory Sensitivity Questionnaire (ESRQ) - an adapted version of the Sensory Responsiveness Questionnaire (SRQ) version II. The ESRQ aims to screen sensory processing difficulties among elderly adults, as expressed in daily living situations.

Methods: The sample consisted of 361 participants, aged 50-86 years, who were and in good health and functionally independent. Participants were divided into three age groups: 50-59; 60-69 and 70-86. All participants completed a demographic and health status questionnaire and the ESRQ.

Results: Analysis of ESRQ scales revealed five factors, which explained 45.66% of the total variance. Internal consistency was high for the full questionnaire and moderate to high for each factor. No significant differences were found between the age groups. Women showed significantly higher sensitivity than men in several modalities.

Implications and conclusions: ESRQ may serve as a suitable tool for screening sensory processing difficulties in the elderly. Gender may play a role in sensory processing changes in the elderly. Further studies should examine the psychometric properties of the ESRQ among elderly people with disabilities. Establishing the prevalence of sensory processing difficulties in the elderly may be beneficial for developing and improving intervention strategies to overcome functional deficits.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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