Using freelisting to identify, assess, and characterize age differences in shared cultural domains

Robert W. Schrauf, Julia Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Objectives. Freelisting is a brief, paper-and-pencil technique in which participants make lists of items that they believe belong in a particular domain. Where cultural domains are shared, as for young and old in the same society, subtle intracultural differences may be difficult to detect. This article presents a series of techniques for revealing and describing this intracultural variation in freelisted data among young versus old age groups. Methods. Older (N = 30) and younger (N = 31) Mexicans in Mexico City made freelists in four quotidian domains: animals, emotions, illnesses, and gendered occupations. Results. We used minimum residual factor analysis (consensus analysis) to establish domain coherence and assess overall consensus concerning contents of the domains. We established subvariation within the overall consensus by comparing levels of observed versus predicted inter-informant agreement. Results showed divergent patterns of inter-informant agreement between young and old participants across domains. Qualitative examination of items with higher salience for young versus old revealed age differences consistent with prior findings in each domain. Discussion. The concatenation of these techniques renders freelisting an accessible, easily administered tool for probing age and group differences in cultural domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S385-S393
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Using freelisting to identify, assess, and characterize age differences in shared cultural domains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this