Past Projects

Past Research Projects

Summaries of past research projects are presented below according to subject area:

  • Body Image
  • Depression
  • Neuropsychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Subjective Age

Body Image

Understanding the Male Physique through the Voices of Gay and Straight Men and Developing a New Measure of Male Body Image

Shayna Rusticus first conducted a qualitative study exploring men’s perceptions of the concept of body image as part of her doctoral dissertation. This research aimed to discover what areas of their bodies and appearance men consider important to their body image, the types of body maintenance activities men engage in, the influence of the media and society on body image, and age and sexual orientation differences in regards to the importance and meaning of body image. A total of 30 men were interviewed for this study (16 straight men, 14 gay men). Previous research on male body image tended to focus exclusively on the drive for muscularity. Based on the results of her qualitative study, Shayna found that there is more to male body image than just muscularity, such as concerns with body fat, body hair, and balding. She next developed a new measure of male body image that assesses a wider range of male body image concerns. Preliminary validity evidence presented in her dissertation was supportive of the reliability and validity of scores and inferences based on this new measure.

Measurement Invariance of Body Image Across the Adult Life Span: Can We Compare Across Age and Gender with Body Image Measures?

Primary researchers: Shayna Rusticus, Dr. Anita Hubley

The issue of body image has been widely discussed in the literature as it pertains to adolescents and young adults; however, body image issues among older individuals, and especially among older men, have been largely ignored. Many of the instruments used to measure the theoretical construct of body image have largely been developed with younger populations. However, before these instruments can be applied to older populations, they must exhibit adequate cross-group equivalence. The hypotheses that the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ), the Appearance Schemas Inventory-Revised (ASI-R), and the Body Image Quality of Life Inventory (BIQLI) can be used to make cross-age and gender comparisons was examined in a sample of 422 men (185 young, 131 middle-aged, 106 older) and 840 women (364 young, 267 middle-aged, 209 older). The results of the measurement invariance tests (i.e., configural, metric, and scalar) for the subscales of the MBSRQ clearly illustrate that the multidimensional nature of body image is perceived quite differently across the age and gender groups and thus the applicability of these subscales depends on both the characteristics of the sample and the goals of the study. The results for the ASI-R revealed that all groups, except for the older women, met requirements for all three levels of invariance tested and that comparisons may be conducted across age group for men and across gender for young and middle-aged adults. Results for the BIQLI indicated that comparisons may be conducted across all age and gender groups.

Some of the findings of this research were presented at the APA convention in Washington, DC, in August, 2005, the annual conference of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) in San Francisco, CA in April, 2006, and the APA convention in New Orleans, LA, in August, 2006.

Two articles have been published based on this research:

Rusticus, S., Hubley, A. M., & Zumbo, B. D. (2008). Measurement invariance on the Appearance Schemas Inventory-Revised and the Body Image Quality of Life Inventory across age and gender. Assessment, 15, 60-71.

Rusticus, S., & Hubley, A. M. (2006). Measurement invariance of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire: Can we compare across age and gender? Sex Roles, 55, 827-842.

Relations among Body Image, Age Identity, and Gender across the Adult Lifespan

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Loriann Quinlan

Aging is an inevitable process of biological, physical, cognitive, and social changes that affect both men and women. In a culture in which youthfulness, good health, attractiveness, and vitality are valued, body image – one’s feelings, attitudes, and values about the body and its functioning – plays an important role in the way we think of ourselves. Throughout the lifespan, a variety of factors may affect our body image in positive and negative ways. Limited research has been conducted to examine differences in body image across the adult lifespan. The results from this research have been inconclusive, with some research (e.g., Franzoi & Koehler, 1998) suggesting that older adults have more positive attitudes toward their bodies than younger adults in some areas but not others, and other research (e.g., Wilcox, 1997) suggesting no differences across age groups. The present study examined body image in 275 community-dwelling adults (130 men and 145 women) aged 20-79 years. A variety of body image measures were used in this study. Gender comparisons on these measures were also presented.

Some of the findings of this research were presented at the APA convention in Washington, DC, in August, 2005 and at the VIII European Congress of Psychology in Vienna, Austria in July, 2003


Screening for Depression in Older Adults: Introduction of a New Measure Designed Specifically for Older Adults

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Dr. Maeve Mangaoang, Shane Burke

The Hubley Depression Scale for Older Adults is a relatively new and short 16-item depression screen designed with older adults in mind that is based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). It uses a dichotomous yes/no response format, large font size, reminders of the reference period, and is freely available for clinical and research purposes. The purpose of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the HDS-OA using a combined sample of 50 depressed and 50 non-depressed middle-aged and older adults. Specifically, we examined the reliability of HDS-OA scores as well as construct validity (e.g., depressed/non-depressed differences, gender differences, correlation with BDI-II scores) and criterion-related validity (e.g., sensitivity, specificity) evidence to support the inferences made from the HDS-OA. The findings provide evidence supporting the reliability of scores and validity of inferences from the HDS-OA.

Detecting Depression after Acute Myocardial Infarction and Unstable Angina Using the Beck Depression Inventory — II and the Geriatric Depression Scale

Primary researchers: Gail Low, Dr. Anita Hubley

Recent research has shown that depression is a risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease. Furthermore, previous research has found that 9.5% to 18% of patients recovering from a heart attack experience major depression with as many as an additional 27% experiencing minor depression. These figures are of concern because major and even minor symptoms of depression can also be a risk factor for repeated cardiac events in patients who are recovering from a heart attack. Older cardiac patients who experience depression are especially at risk. The purpose of this study was to determine which of two commonly used depression questionnaires (Beck Depression Inventory – II or Geriatric Depression Scale) worked better to identify depression in patients who had undergone a recent cardiac event. In total, 89 men and 30 women who ranged in age from 37 to 92 years participated in the study. The present study found that approximately 6% of the 119 participants had major depression and an additional 6% of participants had milder forms of depression. Although both questionnaires did a good job of detecting participants with major depressive symptoms, the scale designed for older adults (Geriatric Depression Scale) did a better job of also figuring out who did not have serious depressive symptoms. Neither questionnaire was effective in screening for the milder forms of depression in this sample.

Some of the findings of this research were presented at the APA convention in Washington, DC, in August, 2005 and at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Montreal, QC, in October, 2005.

One article from this study has been published.

Low, G. D., & Hubley, A. M. (2007). Screening for depression after cardiac events using the Beck Depression Inventory-II and the Geriatric Depression Scale. Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 82, 527-543.


The Bicycle Drawing Test: Psychometric Properties, Validity Evidence, and a Comparison of Scoring Methods

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Lydia Hamilton

The present study provides preliminary reliability and construct validity evidence with respect to the use of the Bicycle Drawing Test in a sample of 50 community-dwelling men and women ages 20-80 years. In addition, a copy trial and model bicycle are introduced to supplement the “free drawing” portion of the test. Mean performance on the BDT is described, one-week test-retest reliability coefficients are computed, gender differences and correlations with age are reported, and correlations of the BDT with other visuospatial measures (i.e., Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure, WAIS-III Block Design, Hooper Visual Organization Test) and a verbal measure (i.e., Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Test) are examined.

Quality of Life

What is Important to the Quality of Life of Homeless or Vulnerably Housed Canadian Adults and Street Youth? A multi-site study

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Palepu, Dr. Anita Hubley, Lara Russell, Mary Chinni

The aim of this study was to identify the factors that affect the quality of life (QoL) of those who experience homelessness by directly soliciting the views of homeless and hard-to-house Canadians themselves. Interviews and focus groups with participants in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver were used to explore the circumstances in which homeless people are living and to capture what they find to be important and relevant domains of QoL. Six major aspects of QoL were identified: health, housing/shelter, food, money, work, and relationships. These aspects of QoL were linked to several broader themes, including having: choices, stability, a sense of self-respect, and the same rights as other members of society.

Some of the findings from this study were presented at the Canadian Conference on Homelessness in Toronto, ON in May, 2005.

This research has been published.

Palepu, A., Hubley, A. M., Russell, L. B., Gadermann, A. M., & Chinni, M. (2012). Quality of life themes in Canadian adults and street youth who are homeless or hard-to-house: A multi-site focus group study. Health & Quality of Life Outcomes, 10: 93, doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-10-93.

Investigating the effectiveness of a new response format with individuals with low literacy or low educational attainment

Primary researchers: Lara Russell, Dr. Anita Hubley

This study investigated a new type of survey response format. Traditional Likert-type scales present ordered response options (e.g., from “completely dissatisfied” to “completely satisfied”). They may also include a neutral midpoint (e.g., “neither dissatisfied nor satisfied”). Respondents select one option in response to each item on the survey. However, it is possible for situations or conditions to have both positive and negative aspects (e.g., one could feel a mixture of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with something). In an attempt to allow for this kind of complex situation, this response format asks respondents to provide both negative and positive ratings for each item on a survey. This ‘dual scale’ response format was applied to the Quality of Life for Homeless and Hard-to-House Individuals (QoLHHI) Scale, which asks respondents to rate the impact of various aspects of their lives. Fifty-three individuals who are homeless or vulnerably housed were administered the QoLHHI and asked about their reactions to the dual scale response format.

Assessing Quality of Life in Students: Incorporating Students’ Perspectives of What is Important

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Lara Russell

Despite the use of respondent-based importance ratings in a number of quality of life (QoL) measures, the meaning of the word ‘important’ has not been explored in the measurement or QoL literatures. If respondents interpret the word ‘important’ differently, the validity of inferences made from these ratings is threatened. This study explored the meaning assigned to the word ‘important’ by university students. Using a Think-Aloud Protocal (Ericsson & Simon, 1998), 35 students completed an importance scale developed for a QoL measure and discussed their interpretation of ‘important’. Analyses suggest that the word ‘important’ does not mean the same thing to all respondents or across different life areas. For example, in some cases importance represented the impact of an item, whereas in others it reflected the time devoted to a particular life area. Alternate words for important included ‘essential’, ‘prominent’, ‘sacred’, and ‘valuable’.

Some of the findings from this study were presented at the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) Conference in San Diego, CA, in December 2007.

Injection Drug Users Quality of Life Scale: Development, Revision, and Construct Validation

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Dr. Anita Palepu, Lara Russell

Quality of life studies among injecting drug users have primarily focused on health-related measures. The chaotic life-style of many injecting drug users, however, extends far beyond their health, and impacts upon social relationships, employment opportunities, housing, and day to day survival. Current quality of life instruments do not capture the realities of people living with addictions. The Injection Drug Users’ Quality of Life Scale (IDUQOL) reflects the life areas that are important to injection drug users and is easy to administer. Key life areas in this population were identified through literature review and through focus groups with the Vancouver Injection Drug User Study (VIDUS) participants. This study examined the content validity of the IDUQOL, its factor structure, scoring, reliability, and construct validity. A manual for the IDUQOL was also prepared.

Some of the findings of this research were presented at the Canadian Conference on Homelessness in Toronto, ON, in May, 2005 and at the International Conference on Urban Health in Toronto, ON, in October, 2005.

Several articles stemming from this study have been published.

Hubley, A. M. & Palepu, A. (2007). Injection Drug User Quality of Life (IDUQOL) Scale: Findings from a content validation study. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5, 46 (35 Word pages) (

Russell, L., Hubley, A. M., Palepu, A., & Zumbo, B. D. (2006). Does weighting capture what’s important? Revisiting weighted and unweighted scores with a quality of life measure. Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 75, 141-167.

Hubley, A. M., Russell, L., & Palepu, A. (2005). Injection Drug Users Quality of Life (IDUQOL) scale: A validation study. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 3, 43:

Russell, L., & Hubley, A. M. (2005). Importance ratings and weighting: Old concerns and new perspectives. International Journal of Testing, 5, 105-130.

 Subjective Age

The Role of Personality Facets in Adults’ Age Identity

Primary researchers: Mihaela Launeanu, Dr. Anita Hubley

The purpose of this study, conducted by Mihaela Launeanu for her Master’s thesis, was to examine the relationship between personality variables and subjective age identity in 251 adults ages 19 to 78. First, we wanted to know which of the Big Five personality domains (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) explained a significant amount of variance in subjective age identity and ideal age scores and, more specifically, the proportion of variance that they explain. Second, we wanted to know which of the 30 Big Five personality facets explained a significant amount of variance in subjective age identity and ideal age scores and, more specifically, the proportion of the variance that they explain.

Subjective Age and Maturational Development in Adolescents

Primary researchers: Rubab Arim, Dr. Anita Hubley

In a cross-sectional study of 245 adolescents ages 10-14 years, we examined (a) whether, and when, a cross-over in subjective age occurs, (b) differences in subjective age among pubertal timing groups, (c) correlations between subjective age and each of desired age and five problem behaviors, and (d) the relative contributions of chronological age, pubertal timing, desired age, and problem behaviors to subjective age in boys and girls. Adolescents generally reported subjective and desired ages that were slightly older than their chronological ages. A cross-over in subjective age occurred at 10.4 years. Late maturing adolescents reported relatively younger subjective ages than their early and on-time maturing peers. For boys, only desired age significantly predicted subjective age. For girls, an older desired age, late maturation, and higher scores on anxious/depressed feelings, rule-breaking behaviors, and aggressive behaviors significantly predicted older subjective ages.

This research has been published.

Hubley, A. M. & Arım, R. (2012). Subjective age in adolescence: Relationships with chronological age, pubertal timing, desired age, and problem behaviors. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 357-366.

A Comparison of Subjective Age in Canadian and Turkish Seniors

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Rubab Arim

Research on subjective age identity has consistently found that older adults in the U.S. and Canada, on average, feel and ideally would choose to be younger than their chronological ages (e.g., Barrett, 2005; Hubley & Hultsch, 1994; Montepare & Lachman, 1989). Researchers comparing subjective age findings in Finland (Uotinen, 1998), Japan (Ota, Harwood, Williams, & Takai, 2000), and Germany (Westerhof, Barrett, & Steverink, 2003) to those in the U.S. have reported that, although participants in each country tended to feel younger than their actual ages, this was particularly the case for Americans. The purpose of this study was to compare Canadian and Turkish samples of older men and women, matched on age and education, on (a) subjective age identity, (b) gender differences in subjective age identity, and (c) relationships between subjective age measures and measures of satisfaction with self (i.e., satisfaction with each of health, self-esteem, life satisfaction) and self-rated health. We found both Turkish and Canadian seniors felt younger and would choose to be younger than their actual ages, but were also satisfied with being their age. The most striking findings from the regression analyses were: (a) the dominant role of health satisfaction and self-rated health in explaining variability in Subjective Age Scale scores for the Canadian sample but not the Turkish sample, and (b) the role of satisfaction with self-esteem in Subjective Age Scale scores and Ideal Age for the Turkish sample and Age Satisfaction for the Canadian sample.

Some of the findings of this research were presented at the APA convention in Washington, DC, in August, 2005, and the APA convention in New Orleans, LA, in August, 2006.

Older adults’ subjective age: Which health dimensions make a difference?

Primary researchers: Dr. Anita Hubley, Lara Russell

Health variables tend to explain the largest proportion of the variance in subjective age scores (Hubley & Hultsch, 1994). The purpose of the present study was to identify the relative contribution of different dimensions of self-rated health and satisfaction with health to individuals’ subjective age, ideal age, and satisfaction with being their present age in a sample of 875 older adults aged 55-97 years. Results of the study showed that, on average, participants felt somewhat younger than their chronological ages, would also choose to be somewhat younger, but were also, on average, satisfied with being their present age. Subjective Age Scale scores were predicted by Vitality, General Health, and Health Satisfaction for women and by Vitality, General Health, and Physical Functioning for men. Age Satisfaction scores were predicted by Health Satisfaction, Mental Health, and General Health for women and by Health Satisfaction and Mental Health for men. These predictors explained 26-36% of the variability in Subjective Age Scale scores and 20-29% of the variability in Age Satisfaction scores in men and women. These findings not only highlight the important relationship between self-rated health and subjective age, but they also help identify the specific dimensions of self-rated health that play a role in this relationship.

Some of the findings of this research were presented at the APA convention in New Orleans, LA, in August, 2006.

Hubley, A. M., & Russell, L. (2009). Prediction of subjective age, desired age, and age satisfaction in older adults: Do some health dimensions contribute more than others? International Journal of Behavioral Development (Special issue on Subjective Age), 33, 12-21.