Palmore Facts on Aging and Mental Health Quiz (FAMHQ)

Circle “T” for true or “F” for false.
1.    The majority (more than half) of old people (age 65 or older) are senile (i.e.‚ defective memory‚ disoriented‚ or demented‚ etc.).
2.    All five senses tend to decline in old age.
3.    The majority (more than half) of old people (age 65 or older) have no capacity for sexual relations.
4.    Lung capacity tends to decline in old age.
5.    The majority of old people (age 65 or older) say they feel miserable most of the time.
6.    Physical strength tends to decline in old age.
7.    At least 10% of the aged (age 65 or older) are living in long-stay institutions (i.e.‚ nursing homes‚ mental hospitals‚ homes for the aged‚ etc.).
8.    Aged drivers (age 65 or older) have fewer accidents per driver than drivers under the age 65.
9.    The majority of older workers cannot work as effectively as younger workers.
10.About 80% of the aged (age 65 or older) say they are healthy enough to carry out their normal activities.
11.The majority of old people are unable to adapt to change.
12.Old people usually take longer than young people to learn something new.
13.It is almost impossible for the majority of old people to learn new things.
14.The reaction time of the majority of old people tends to be slower than the reaction time of younger people.
15.In general‚ the majority of old people tend to be pretty much alike.
16.The majority of old people (age 65 or older) say they are seldom bored.
17.The majority of old people (age 65 or older) say they are lonely.
18.Older workers have fewer accidents than younger workers.
19.Over 15% of the U.S. population are now 65 or over.
20.The majority of medical practitioners give low priority to the aged.
21.The majority of older people (age 65 or older) have incomes below the poverty level ($5‚447 for an older person or $6‚872 for an older couple).
22.The majority of old people (age 65 or older) are working or would like to have some kind of work to do (including housework or volunteer work).
23.Older people tend to become more religious as they age.
24.The majority of older people (age 65 or older) say they are seldom angry.
25.The health and socioeconomic status of older people (compared to younger people) in the year 2000 will probably be about the same as now.
1.    A person’s height tends to decline in old age.
2.    More older persons (age 65 or older) have chronic illnesses that limit their activity than younger persons.
3.    Older persons (age 65 or older) have more acute (short-term) illnesses than persons under 65.
4.    Older persons (age 65 or older) have more injuries than persons under 65.
5.    Older workers have less absenteeism than younger workers.
6.    The life expectancy of Blacks at age 65 is about the same as White life expectancy at age 65.
7.    The life expectancy of men at age 65 is about the same as the life expectancy of women at age 65.
8.    Medicare pays over half of the medical expenses for the aged.
9.    Social Security Income automatically increases with inflation.
10.Supplemental Security Income guarantees a minimum income for the needy aged.
11.The aged (age 65 or older) do not get their proportionate share of the nations income.
12.The aged (age 65 or older) have higher rates of criminal victimization than persons under 65.
13.The aged (age 65 or older) are more fearful of crime than persons under 65.
14.The aged (age 65 or older) are the most law abiding of all adult groups according to official statistics.
15.There are two widows for each widower among the aged (age 65 or older).
16.A bigger percentage of the aged (age 65 or older) vote than any other age group.
17.There are proportionately more older persons (age 65 or older) in public office than in the total population.
18.The proportion of Blacks among the aged (age 65 or older) is growing.
19.Participation in voluntary organizations (such as churches and clubs) tends to decline among healthy aged 65 or over.
20.The majority of aged (age 65 or older) live alone.
21.The aged (age 65 or older) have about the same percentage of people below the official poverty level as the rest of the population (below age 65).
22.The rate of poverty among aged Blacks (age 65 or older) is about 3 times as high as among Whites 65 or over.
23.Older persons who reduce their activities tend to be happier than those who remain active.
24.When the last child leaves home‚ the majority of parents have serious problems adjusting to their ‘‘empty nest.’’
25.The proportion widowed is decreasing among the aged (age 65 or older).
In FAQ1‚ odd-numbered items are false and even-numbered items are true. In FAQ2‚ alternating pairs of items are true and false (e.g.‚ 1 and 2 are true‚ 3 and 4 or false). ‘‘Don’t know’’ was a response option for both FAQ1 and FAQ2.
FAQ1‚ Palmore‚ 1998
multiple-choice format
1. The proportion of people over 65 who are senile (have impaired memory‚ disorientation‚ or dementia) is:
a)    About 1 in 100 +
b)   About 1 in 10 *
c)    About 1 in 2 –
d)    The majority –
e)    Don’t know
2. The senses that tend to weaken in old age are:
a)    Sight and hearing +
b)   Taste and smell +
c)    Sight‚ hearing‚ and touch +
d)    All five senses *
e)    Don’t know
3. The majority of old couples:
a)    Have little or no interest in sex –
b)   Are not able to have sexual relations –
c)    Continue to enjoy sexual relations *
d)    Think sex is only for the young –
e)    Don’t know
4. Lung vital capacity in old age:
a)    Tends to decline *
b)   Stays the same among nonsmokers +
c)    Tends to increase among healthy old people +
d)    Is unrelated to age +
e)    Don’t know
5. Happiness among old people is:
a)    Rare –
b)   Less common than among younger people –
c)    About as common as among younger people *
d)    More common than among younger people +
e)    Don’t know
6. Physical strength:
a)    Tends to decline with age *
b)   Tends to remain the same among healthy old people +
c)    Tends to increase among healthy old people +
d)    Is unrelated to age +
e)    Don’t know
7. The percentage of people over 65 in long-stay institutions (such as nursing homes‚ mental hospitals‚ and homes for the aged) is about:
a)    5% *
b)   10% –
c)    25% –
d)    50% –
e)    e. Don’t know
8. The accident rate per driver over age 65 is:
a)    Higher than those under 65 –
b)   About the same as for those under 65 –
c)    Lower than for those under 65 *
d)    Unknown 0
e)    Don’t know
9. Most workers over 65:
a)    Work less effectively than younger adults –
b)   Work as effectively as younger adults *
c)    Work more effectively than younger workers +
d)    Are preferred by most employers +
e)    Don’t know
10. The proportion of people over 65 who are able to do their normal activities is about:
a)    One tenth –
b)   One quarter –
c)    One half –
d)    More than three fourths *
e)    Don’t know
11. Adaptability to change among people over 65 is:
a)    b. Present among about half –
b)   c. Present among most *
c)    d. More common than among younger people +
d)    e. Don’t know
12. As for old people learning new things:
a)    Most are unable to learn at any speed –
b)   Most are able to learn‚ but at a slower speed *
c)    Most are able to learn as fast as younger people +
d)    Learning speed is unrelated to age +
e)    Don’t know
13. Depression is more frequent among:
a)    People over 65 –
b)   Adults under 65 *
c)    Young people 0
d)    Children 0
e)    Don’t know
14. Old people tend to react:
a)    Slower than younger people *
b)   At about the same speed as younger people +
c)    Faster than younger people +
d)    Slower or faster than others‚ depending on the type of test +
e)    Don’t know
15. Old people tend to be:
a)    More alike than younger people –
b)   As alike as younger people 0
c)    Less alike as younger people +
d)    More alike in some respects and less alike in others *
e)    Don’t know
16. Most old people say:
a)    They are seldom bored *
b)   They are usually bored –
c)    They are often bored –
d)    Life is monotonous –
e)    Don’t know
17. The proportion of old people who are socially isolated is:
a)    Almost all –
b)   About half –
c)    Less than a fourth *
d)    Almost none +
e)    Don’t know
18. The accident rate among workers over 65 tends to be:
a)    Higher than among younger workers –
b)   About the same as among younger workers –
c)    Lower than among younger workers *
d)    Unknown because there are so few workers over 65 –
e)    Don’t know
19. The proportion of the U.S. population now age 65 or over is:
a)    3% 0
b)   13% *
c)    23% 0
d)    33% 0
e)    e. Don’t know
20. Medical practitioners tend to give older patients:
a)    Lower priority than younger patients *
b)   The same priority as younger patients +
c)    Higher priority than younger patients +
d)    Higher priority if they have Medicaid +
e)    Don’t know
21. The poverty rate (as defined by the federal government) among old people is:
a)    Higher than among children under age 18 –
b)   Higher than among all persons under 65 –
c)    About the same as among persons under 65 –
d)    Lower than among persons under 65 *
e)    Don’t know
22. Most old people are:
a)    Still employed +
b)   Employed or would like to be employed +
c)    Employed‚ do housework or volunteer work‚ or would like to do some kind of work *
d)    Not interested in work –
e)    Don’t know
23. Religiosity tends to:
a)    Increase in old age 0
b)   Decrease in old age 0
c)    Be greater in the older generation than in the younger *
d)    Be unrelated to age 0
e)    Don’t know
24. Most old people:
a)    Are seldom angry *
b)   Are often angry –
c)    Are often grouchy –
d)    Often lose their tempers –
e)    Don’t know
25. The health and economic status of old people (compared to younger people) in the year 2020 will:
a)    Be higher than now *
b)   Be about the same as now –
c)    Be lower than now –
d)    Show no consistent trend –
e)    Don’t know
Key: * = Correct answer
+ = Positive bias
– = Negative bias
0 = Neutral
Note: The year in question number twenty-five was changed to 2020 from 2010 due to the fact that this study was completed during the year 2010. It should be noted that this question initially used the year 2000 in first edition (Palmore‚ 1988) and was changed to 2010 in the second edition (Palmore‚ 1998). At the date of this research a third edition had not yet been published.
Palmore Facts on Aging and Mental Health Quiz‚ multiple-choice format
Palmore‚ 1998
1. Severe mental illness among persons over 65 afflicts
a)    The majority –
b)   About half –
c)    About 15% to 25% *
d)    Very few +
e)    Don’t know
2. Cognitive impairment (impairment of memory‚ disorientation‚ or confusion)
a)    Is an inevitable part of the aging process –
b)   Increases in old age *
c)    Declines with age +
d)    Does not change with age +
e)    Don’t know
3. If older mental patients make up false stories‚ it is best to
a)    Point out to them they are lying –
b)   Punish them for lying –
c)    Reward them for their imagination +
d)    Ignore or distract them *
e)    Don’t know
4. The prevalence of anxiety disorders and schizophrenia in old age tends to
a.    Decrease *
b.    Stay about the same –
c.    Increase somewhat –
d.    Increase markedly –
e.    Don’t Know
5. Suicide rates among women tend to
a.    Increase in old ageb.
a.    Stay about the same *
b.    Decrease somewhat in old age +
c.    Decrease markedly +
d.    Don’t Know
6. Suicide rates among men tend to
a.    Increase markedly *
b.    Increase somewhat –
c.    Stay about the same +
d.    Decrease +
e.    Don’t know
7. When all major types of mental impairment are added together‚ the elderly have
a.    Higher rates than younger persons –
b.    About the same rates as younger persons –
c.    Lower rates than younger persons *
d.    Higher rates for ages 65 to 74 than for those over 75 0
e.    Don’t know
8. The primary mental illness of the elderly is
a.    Anxiety disorders +
b.    Mood disorders +
c.    Schizophrenia 0
d.    Cognitive impairment *
e.    Don’t know
9. Alzheimer’s disease is
a.    The most common type of cognitive impairment *
b.    An acute illness +
c.    A benign memory disorder +
d.    A form of affective disorder +
e.    Don’t know
10. Alzheimer’s disease usually
a.    Can be cured with psychotherapy +
b.    Can be cured with pharmacology +
c.    Goes into remission among the very old +
d.    Cannot be cured *
e.    Don’t know
11. Most patients with Alzheimer’s disease
a.    Act pretty much the same way –
b.    Have confusion and impaired memory *
c.    Wander during the day or night –
d.    Repeat the same question or action over and over –
e.    Don’t know
12. Organic brain impairment
a)    Is easy to distinguish from functional mental illness +
b)   Is difficult to distinguish from functional mental illness *
c)    Tends to be similar to functional mental illness +
d)    Can be reversed with proper therapy +
e)    Don’t know
13. When talking to an older patient‚ it is best
a)    To avoid looking directly at the patient –
b)   To glance at the patient occasionally –
c)    To ignore the patient’s reaction –
d)    To look directly at the patient *
e)    Don’t know
14. Talking to demented older patients
a.    Tends to increase their confusion –
b.    Is usually pleasurable for the patient *
c.    Should be confined to trivial matters –
d.    Should be avoided as much as possible –
e.    Don’t know
15. When demented patients talk about their past‚ it usually
a.    Is enjoyed by the patient *
b.    Depresses the patient –
c.    Increases the patient’s confusion –
d.    Has no effect –
e.    Don’t know
16. The prevalence of sever cognitive impairment
a.    Is unrelated to age +
b.    Decreases with age +
c.    Increases with age after age 45 *
d.    Increases with age only after 75 +
e.    Don’t know
17. The primary causes of paranoid disorders in old age are
a.    Isolation and hearing loss *
b.    Persecution and abuse 0
c.    Near death experiences 0
d.    None of the above 0
e.    Don’t know
18. Poor nutrition may produce
a.    Depression 0
b.    Confusion 0
c.    Apathy 0
d.    All of the above *
e.    Don’t know
19. Mental illness in elders is more prevalent among
a.    The poor *
b.    The rich 0
c.    The middle-class 0
d.    None of the above 0
e.    Don’t know
20. The prevalence of mental illness among the elderly in long-term care institutions is
a.    About 10% +
b.    About 25 % +
c.    About 50 % +
d.    More than 75% *
e.    Don’t know
21. Elders tend to have
a.    Less sleep problems +
b.    More sleep problems *
c.    Deeper sleep +
d.    The same sleep patterns as younger persons +
e.    Don’t know
22. Major depression is
a.    Less prevalent among elders *
b.    More prevalent among elders –
c.    Unrelated to age –
d.    A sign of senility –
e.    Don’t know
23. Widowhood is
a.    Less stressful among elders *
b.    More stressful among elders –
c.    Similar levels of stress at all ages –
d.    Least stressful among young adults –
e.    Don’t know
24. Elders use mental health facilities
a.    More often than younger people –
b.    Less often than younger people *
c.    At about the same rate as younger people –
d.    Primarily when they have no family to care for them –
e.    Don’t know
25. Psychotherapy with older patients is
a.    Usually ineffective –
b.    Often effective *
c.    Effective with Alzheimer’s patients 0
d.    A waste of the therapist’s time –
e.    Don’t know
Key: * = Correct answer
+ = Positive bias
– = Negative bias
0 = Neutral
By Date:

Harris‚ D.K.‚ Changas‚ P.S.‚ & Palmore‚ E.B. (1996). Palmore’s first facts on aging quiz in a multiple-choice format. Educational Gerontology‚ 22‚ 575-589.

Matthews‚ A. M.‚ Tindale‚ J. A.‚ & Norris‚ J. E. (1984). The Facts on Aging Quiz: A Canadian validation and cross-cultural comparison. Canadian Journal on Aging‚ 3‚ 165-174.

Palmore‚ E. D. (1977). Facts on aging: A short quiz. Gerontologist‚ 17‚ 315-320.

Palmore‚ E. D. (1988). The Facts on Aging Quiz. New York‚ NY: Springer.

Palmore‚ E. D. (1990). Ageism‚ negative and positive. New York‚ NY: Springer.

Pennington‚ H. R.‚ Pachana‚ N. A.‚ & Coyle‚ S. L. (2001). Use of the facts on aging quiz in New Zealand: Validation of questions‚ performance of a student sample‚ and effects of a don’tknow option. Educational Gerontology‚ 27(5)‚ 409-41

Seufert‚ Robert L .‚ Carrozza‚ Mark. (2002). A test of Palmore’s Facts on Aging Quizzes as alternate measures. Journal of Aging Studies; 16: 279–294

Palmore‚ E. D. (2005). Three decades of research on ageism. Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging‚ 29‚ 87-90.

Wisdom‚ Nicholas M. (2010). social acceptance of age discrimination. Oklahoma State University. Doctoral dissertation

Dotson‚ Damien Gent. (2012). “The Effects of an Educational Intervention on the Aging Knowlege of Graduate Counseling Students”. Southern Illinois University Carbondale . Doctoral Dissertations. Paper 461.

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