Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies

Department

Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Skye Leedahl

Abstract

Intergenerational programs are on the rise. While studies have shown benefits to participation in these programs, most of the research has been focused on students and less on older adult outcomes (see Andreoletti & Howard, 2016 for a review). Currently, the University of Rhode Island (URI) is host to the Engaging Generations: Cyber-Seniors Program, which connects older adults with undergraduate technology mentors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of intergenerational programming participation for older adults related to social isolation, loneliness, social engagement, and digital competency, as measured by the pre/post surveys given to participants. SPSS software was used to conduct descriptive analysis, paired-sample t Tests, independent sample t Tests, and one-way ANOVAs. Thematic analysis was used for the open-ended participant response. Results showed significant improvements on items of the digital competence scale, particularly in relation to social media and for those who started with lower levels of digital competence. Qualitative analysis showed that the older adults valued the technological knowledge gained, and the pleasant interactions and pedagogy. Program implications and suggestions are discussed.

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