Background

The original CASP-19 scale was designed as part of relatively small study using data from the Boyd-Orr cohort looking at how lifecourse factors impacted on quality of life at older ages. However, when the team reviewed the then existing measures of quality of life (QoL) that were used amongst older people they found that they were often focused on measuring (poor) health and failed to capture the more positive (as well as negative) aspects of ageing. To redress this, they developed the CASP 19 scale. It was designed to cover the active and beneficial experiences of later life rather than simply focus on the medical and social care issues that had traditionally been seen to typify ageing research. The scale is composed of 4 sub-scales, the initials of which make up the acronym: Control, Autonomy, Self-Realization and Pleasure.

However, perhaps the key difference between the CASP and the existing scales at the time was that it had a clear theoretical basis – grounded in the work of both Maslow and Giddens. Drawing on these two theorists it was argued that it was possible to identify areas of human need, which could be seen as domains of quality of life, but that these should include both material and post-material dimensions. Following the success of the scale in the original study it was quickly picked up for use in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and from there a revised version (CASP-12v1) was included in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The scale has now been used in around 70 studies (see the page on CASP publications) and the scale has been subjected to numerous psychometric tests from which we are getting a better idea of its structural properties (see the page on CASP scoring and properties). Overall it has proved to be a quick, effective, multidimensional instrument with generally good psychometric properties. The scale has been used over 20 countries in all of the major continents (different language versions are available to download from the CASP translations page on this site). All of which has added to the growing use of CASP amongst the international research community.

Please feel free to use any of the resources on this site or to contact me if you would like to know anything more about the scale.

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