Older Adults' Attributional Style Questionnaire

Author: Derek M. Isaacowitz, Ph.D.


The OAASQ is a version of the ASQ modified to be appropriate to the lives of older adults. It is identical in form to the ASQ but contains certain content differences. First, the vignettes from the affiliation domain have been changed slightly to be more appropriate to older populations. Second, the achievement vignettes from the ASQ have been replaced on the OAASQ with vignettes from the health/cognitive domain. Explanatory style in these two domains may predict depression and affect in older individuals, though the relations appear more complex than those found in young adults; in particular, some extremely optimistic older adults may be at higher risk for increases in depressive symptoms than are their more pessimistic peers, especially in the context of several negative life events happening over a short period.

  • Isaacowitz, D.M. & Seligman, M.E.P. (in press). Cognitive style predictors of affect change in older adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development.
  • Isaacowitz, D.M. & Seligman, M.E.P. (2001). Is pessimistic explanatory style a risk factor for depressive mood among community-dwelling older adults? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 39, 255-272.

Derek Isaacowitz: dmi@brandeis.edu