Can education change attitudes toward aging? A quasi-experimental design with a comparison group

Young-Shin Lee, Seon-Hi Shin, Philip A. Greiner


Background: Widespread negative attitudes toward aging in the U.S. are obstacles to training care providers and providing high quality care. Studies identifying educational effects on attitudes toward older people are still inconclusive. Objective: To examine the impact of learning experiences on university student attitudes toward older people.

Methods: Design: A quasi-experimental design with a comparison group study.  A total of 147 students registered in nursing and non-nursing programs completed three instruments measuring attitudes toward aging at three month intervals. All nursing students in the study were undertaking gerontology nursing course.

Results: All participants expressed more positive attitudes in direct measures than indirect measures. Nursing students taking this gerontology course had significantly lower negative attitudes and negative feelings toward older adults, lower anti-age bias, and improvement in pro-age bias over time as compared to non-nursing students.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that: 1) improved knowledge and clinical experience of aging reduce negative attitudes and are fundamental steps in developing positive attitudes for caring for older adults; and 2) comparative research using multiple measures provides a better understanding of attitudes toward older people.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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