Assessing children's attitudes toward senior citizens
Palter, William J.
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether children's attitudes toward senior citizens will change after experiencing an intergenerational social and physical activity program, “Growing Older and Liking It." A secondary purpose was to compare the attitudes of boys and girls toward senior citizens. Forty-eight students (26 girls and 22 boys) and 15 senior citizens participated in the study. Fourth- and fifth-grade subjects were randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group. Attitudes of the children were assessed by the Children's Attitudes Toward the Elderly Test (CATE). The test was administered individually and included three separate sections: Word Association (WA), Semantic Differential (SD), and Concept of Age (CA). Subjects in each group were tested after the 7-week intergenerational social and physical activity program. The program consisted of 14 sessions, each 40 minutes in length. Data collected for each group were assessed by a 2 x 2 analysis of variance. Results indicated a significant difference in favor of the attitudes of the control group as measured by the WA section, F̲(1, 44) = 18.45, p̲ < .01. No significant differences were found in the SD and CA sections. The results of this study demonstrate that this 7-week intergenerational social and physical activity program which was introduced in an elementary school setting did not improve the attitudes that children already had regarding senior citizens.