A structural factor analysis of vocabulary knowledge and relations to age

Ryan P. Bowles, Kevin J. Grimm, John J. McArdle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Vocabulary knowledge may not be a unidimensional construct, and the relations between vocabulary knowledge and age may depend on the aspect of vocabulary knowledge being assessed. In this study, we examined the factor structure of a vocabulary test given to a large nationally representative sample of individuals (N ∼ 20,500). Results indicated that the vocabulary test is not unidimensional but bidimensional, with Basic Vocabulary and Advanced Vocabulary factors. An analysis of age differences indicates that basic vocabulary is highest around the age of 30, with a negative relation to age in late adulthood; in contrast, advanced vocabulary is unrelated to age between ages 35 and 70. Cohort effects may explain some of the differential age trend.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P234-P241
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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