Reducing Ageism: Changes in Students’ Attitudes after Participation in an Intergenerational Reverse Mentoring Program
Date of Original Version
Ageism is a societal concern that greatly affects the social, emotional, physical, and mental health of older adults. One way to decrease ageist attitudes and improve the treatment of older adults is to address and improve age stereotypes among young adults. Using data from students participating in an intergenerational digital-learning program, the present study investigated change in students’ stereotypes of older adults and aging. We examined change from pre- and post-scores in student attitudes toward older adults and the type of adjectives used to describe older adults. We also analyzed responses to open-ended questions about changes in perception of older adults and aging and interest in working with older adults. Findings showed that: (1) Students’ attitudes improved following participation in the program; (2) students used fewer negative words to describe older adults following participation; (3) answers to open-ended questions demonstrated that many students improved their perceptions of older adults; and (4) many students showed increased interest in working with older adults in their future careers. Programs that reduce age stereotypes should be promoted in order to reduce young people’s harmful ageist stereotypes, ensure respectful treatment of older adults in all workplace and social situations, and increase interest in aging-related fields.
Leedahl, S.N.; Brasher, M.S.; LoBuono, D.L.; Wood, B.M.; Estus, E.L. Reducing Ageism: Changes in Students’ Attitudes after Participation in an Intergenerational Reverse Mentoring Program. Sustainability 2020, 12, 6870.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176870
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Skye Leedahl is from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
Melanie Serena Brasher is from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Dara L. LoBuono is from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Erica L. Estus is from the Department of Pharmacy Practice.