Title

Do Laboratory Experiences Change College Students' Attitudes Toward the Elderly?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-1993

Department

Nursing

Abstract

This research utilized a gerontology laboratory to study students' prior contact with the elderly, their views of the elderly, their anticipated and actual experiences in the laboratory, and their perspectives of working professionally with the elderly. The instrumentation was a pretest and posttest which contained 24 descriptive physical, interpersonal, cognitive, and affective characteristics reflecting students' views of the elderly. Learning theory was the basis for studying attitude formation. Respondents were 60 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled across the curricula of a southern university during 1989-1991. Analysis was by paired t-tests with a .05 level of significance. Most students reported substantial previous contact with the elderly and rated their experiences from good to excellent. Six of the 24 characteristics had significant differences from the pretest to the posttest; most were physical descriptors. Most students were excited about the laboratory experience, and two thirds continued to be excited after their experience with the elderly. Nearly half continued to express a high level of enthusiasm for working professionally with the elderly. Recommendations include offering courses with gerontology content and laboratory experiences across the university curricula as early as the freshman year and utilizing up-to-date research and information to dispel myths about the elderly.

Publication Title

Educational Gerontology

Volume

19

Issue

4

First Page

295

Last Page

309