The Gerontologist
QUICK SEARCH:   [advanced]
Year:  Vol:  Page: 

This Article
Full Text
Full Text (PDF)
Alert me when this article is cited
Alert me if a correction is posted
Similar articles in this journal
Similar articles in PubMed
Alert me to new issues of the journal
Download to citation manager
Cited by other online articles
Google Scholar
Articles by Castle, N. G.
Articles by Engberg, J.
Articles citing this Article
PubMed Citation
Articles by Castle, N. G.
Articles by Engberg, J.
The Gerontologist 44:358-367 (2004)
© 2004 The Gerontological Society of America

Response Formats and Satisfaction Surveys for Elders

Nicholas G. Castle, PhD1, and John Engberg, PhD1

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Nicholas G. Castle, PhD, RAND, 201 North Craig Street, Suite 102, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1516. E-mail: CASTLE{at}

Purpose: A factor common to the results of many satisfaction surveys of elders is a lack of response variability. Increasing response variability may be useful if satisfaction surveys of elders are to be productively used in the future. In this paper, we first examine elders' preferences between five response formats and then examine the response variability of these five commonly used formats. Design and Methods: Satisfaction, demographic, and Short-Form 36 Health Survey data were self-reported by patients in four outpatient surgery centers during 1998 and 1999. We used six different survey instruments randomly given to 3,122 elders. Five instruments varied in response format (5-item Likert format, 5-item satisfaction format, 5-item valuation format, 4-item Chernoff faces, and 10-item visual analogue format). The sixth survey used all five different response sets, and then it asked for the respondents' preferences among the different response sets. Results: A total of 2,450 questionnaires were examined (response rate of 78.5%). The response format using four Chernoff faces was liked the least, with only 5% of the respondents preferring this format. The 10-item visual analogue format (10VAF) was liked the most, with 39% of the respondents preferring this format. In addition, 10% more elders thought this format was easier to use than the second-place choice (i.e., 32% vs. 22%). The coefficient of variation for the 10VAF was also higher than those in identical domains using the other response formats. This would seem to indicate that the 10VAF is less prone to a ceiling effect than the other response formats. Implications: Our results show that elders have a preference for some response formats, and from the choices we gave them a 10VAF was preferred. The 10VAF also had more response variability then the other formats we tested.

Key Words: Satisfaction • Response formats • Surveys

This article has been cited by other articles: (Search Google Scholar for Other Citing Articles)

Home page
GerontologistHome page
N. G. Castle
Nursing Home Administrators' Opinions of the Nursing Home Compare Web Site
Gerontologist, June 1, 2005; 45(3): 299 - 308.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Home page
Int J Qual Health CareHome page
N. Castle
Family satisfaction with nursing facility care
Int. J. Qual. Health Care, December 1, 2004; 16(6): 483 - 489.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2004 by The Gerontological Society of America.