Date

2021

Major

Child and Family Development (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jennifer Zorotovich

Abstract

“Ageism is an untrue assumption that chronological age should be the main determinant of human characteristics and that one age group is better than another” (Cavannaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2015, p. 31). Even though America is currently undergoing population aging, ageism is still experienced by 77% of adults (Novak, 2012). Although there has been an abundance of research on the outcomes of ageism (Burnes, et al., 2019; Kallio & Thomas, 2019, Scott, 2019) not as much attention has been given to intergenerational programs. The current study compared qualitative feedback to better understand students’ experiences in service learning with different populations of older adults. One group of students interacted with frail older adults and the other group interacted with active older adults. Analysis utilized a thematic approach (Lindsay, 2019) of qualitative data to explore group differences on perceptions toward aging between the two groups of students. A discussion of results is presented in terms of the impact that intergenerational programming may have on college students’ perceptions of aging and older adults.

Thesis Summary

Even though America is currently undergoing population aging, ageism is still experienced by 77% of adults (Novak, 2012). Although there has been an abundance of research on the outcomes of ageism (Burnes, et al., 2019; Kallio & Thomas, 2019, Scott, 2019) not as much attention has been given to intergenerational programs. The current study compared qualitative feedback to better understand students’ experiences in service learning with different populations of older adults.

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