17 Assessment in Geriatric Settings

Assessment Psychology


  1. Barry A. Edelstein PhD1,
  2. Ronald R. Martin RD Psych. PhD2,
  3. Lindsay A. Gerolimatos M.S.1

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop210017

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Edelstein, B. A., Martin, R. R. and Gerolimatos, L. A. 2012. Assessment in Geriatric Settings. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 10:II:17.

Author Information

  1. 1

    West Virginia University, Department of Psychology, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA

  2. 2

    University of Regina, Faculty of Education, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


This chapter addresses the clinical assessment of older adults. Its principal goal is to acquaint the reader with assessment issues that are relatively unique to older adults, with particular attention to factors that could influence the process or outcome of clinical assessment. We begin with the discussions of two intra- and interpersonal variables, bias in the form of ageism and cultural competence. Ignorance of the importance and influence of these variables can lead to the corruption, contamination, and invalidation of the entire assessment enterprise. We then consider biological and medical issues that are more common among older adults that can play a significant role in the interplay between biological and environmental factors. Next we shift to two conceptual issues, beginning with the assessment paradigms within which the clinician performs the assessment. We then address diagnostic issues and question the prudence of utilizing traditional diagnostic taxonomies with older adults. The complexities of carrying out clinical assessments are then addressed through discussions of multiple method and multidimensional assessment. We follow this with a discussion of psychometric considerations for developing or selecting assessment instruments suitable for older adults. We end the chapter with a conclusion and brief discussion of future directions in the assessment of older adults.


  • aging;
  • clinical gerontology;
  • clinical geropsychology;
  • geriatrics;
  • gerontological assessment;
  • geropsychological assessment