The dimensionality of ‘place attachment’ for older people in rural areas of South West England and Wales
Previously I have used qualitative data to develop a four-domain (physical, social, temporal, and psychological) model of attachment to place for older people in rural areas. Drawing on data for 920 older people (60+ years) living in rural areas of South West England and Wales, and utilising items developed from the initial qualitative analysis to represent each domain empirically, this paper uses exploratory factor analysis to identify the underlying factor structure of place attachment for older people in these rural areas. It examines the match between the resulting factor structure and an a priori conceptualisation of place attachment. I develop subscales and an overall scale of place attachment and tests for reliability and rating scaling assumptions (content validity). Using principal axis factoring three factors are identified: social attachment, aesthetic attachment, and appropriateness of resources and the environment. The three factors account for 23.5%, 11.6%, and 6.4% of the variance and good internal reliability is demonstrated (Cronbach’s α 0.71, 0.72, and 0.72). The analysis suggests that this is a psychometrically reliable and valid instrument fit for the purpose of measuring attachment to place for older people in rural areas. However, further psychometric evaluations with other samples are required to confirm the model structure, and to develop a fourth domain representing an historical attachment to place. Keywords: England and Wales, place attachment, scale development, rural areas, ageing population, person–environment fit
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