Campus Location

Abilene Campus

Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair

Dr. Alan Lipps

Second Committee Member

Dr. Charlie Pruett

Third Committee Member

Amy Kalb

Abstract

The world is aging at a rapid pace. This creates a need for society to focus attention toward issues that are affecting the elderly population. This shift in focus regarding the elderly population also calls for the need of additional geriatric education as well as training while working with this vulnerable population. Research targeting college students’ shows that there is a lack of desire among students for working with the aging adult population. This lack of desire to work with the elderly population is associated with ageism; or, biased perceptions about age. The purpose of this study was to determine if student interactions with elderly persons, based on Allport’s (1954) Intergroup Contact Theory, in the context of a Texas Silver Haired Legislature Town Hall Meeting, would change ageist attitudes. Pretest-posttest data measuring ageism was collected and statistical tests were run to determine significance. Tests concluded that there was statically significant reduction in ageism for students who attended the Town Hall Meeting.

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