Focusing on positive outcomes in frailty research: development of a short well-being instrument for older adults (SWIO)

D. Duppen*, Gina Rossi, Eva Dierckx, Lieve Hoeyberghs, Liesbeth De Donder, A-S. Smetcoren, S. Dury, N. De Witte, D. Lambotte, B. Fret, M. Kardol, D. Verte, E. De Roeck, S. Engelborghs, P. P. Dedeyn, M. C. J. Van der Elst, J. De Lepeleire, B. Schoenmakers, A. van der Vorst, G. A. R. ZijlstraG. I. J. M. Kempen, J. M. G. A. Schols, D-SCOPE Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Studies of frailty have tended to focus on adverse outcomes. This study aims to develop a short instrument that identifies a positive outcome, namely, the level of well-being in older adults at risk of frailty. Method: 871 older adults (49.4% women; mean age 75.72 years; SD = 8.05) with a frailty risk profile participated in the first wave of the D-SCOPE study. The possible domains of well-being were identified using a bottom-up approach. Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) and multidimensional Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis of 17 items in 4 domains measuring well-being was performed on a calibration sample (n = 435) to develop the instrument. The instrument was subsequently corroborated by confirmatory factor analysis and convergent/divergent relations with relevant external measures in a validation sample (n = 436). Results: The ESEM three-factor solution, with the subdimensions of sense of mastery, meaning in life, and life satisfaction, displayed good fit to the data (RMSEA = 0.070). For each dimension, the three best discriminating items were retained for the instrument following IRT analysis. Internal consistency of these dimensions was good in the validation sample (sense of mastery alpha = 0.864, meaning in life alpha = 0.715, and life satisfaction alpha = 0.782). The confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) three-factor model also showed good fit to the data (RMSEA = 0.064). Small to large zero-order correlations with the external measures were as expected. Conclusions: Using a bottom-up approach, this study developed a short instrument to identify levels of well-being in vulnerable or frail older adults. The instrument can be applied in primary care and prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • item response theory
  • well-being
  • health outcomes
  • short form
  • LIFE

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