What Does This Question Mean To You? Cognitive Interviewing to Pretest a Questionnaire for Older Adults
Enagonio, Elisabeth Mary
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Seven cognitive interviews were conducted in adults aged 80 and older to pretest a questionnaire for the Community Connections - Moving Seniors Toward Wellness research project. Respondents participated in intensive one-on-one interviews. The questionnaire was administered, and respondents were probed for comprehension of question content. Older adults with physical limitations answered questions about depression based on physical rather than emotional status, made distinctions between capacity and performance regarding physical function, and failed to understand key medical terms. Wording of questions about personal hardiness was confusing to older adults. The findings were used to simplify wording throughout the questionnaire. Survey designers should be aware that questions about depression may be testing physical rather than emotional status. Questions about physical function should make a distinction between capacity and performance. Common language rather than medical terminology should be used when surveying older adults. Rewritten hardiness questions may be useful in assessing older adults.