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One of the main health-related worries for older adults is becoming dependent. Even healthy older adults may worry about becoming dependent, generating guilt feelings due to the anticipation of future needs that others must solve. The guilt associated with self-perception as a burden has not been studied in older adults, and there is no instrument available to measure these feelings.
To adapt the Self-Perceived Burden Scale (SPBS; Cousineau et al., 2003) for the assessment of feelings of guilt for perceiving oneself as a burden for the family in older adults without explicit functional or cognitive impairment.
Participants were 298 older adults living independently in the community. Participants completed the assessment protocol, which included measures of guilt associated with self-perception as a burden, depressive and anxious symptomatology, self-perceived burden, and sociodemographic information.
Results from exploratory, parallel and confirmatory factor analyses suggest that the scale, named Guilt associated with Self-Perception as a Burden Scale (G-SPBS), has a unidimensional structure, explaining 57.04% of the variance of guilt. Good reliability was found (Cronbach’s alpha = .94). The results revealed significant (p < .01) positive associations with depressive and anxious symptomatology.
These findings suggest that the G-SPBS shows good psychometric properties which endorse its use with healthy community older adults. Also, guilt associated with perceiving oneself as a burden seems to be a relevant variable that can contribute to improving our understanding of psychological distress in older adults.
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