Intergenerational Service Learning Program Improves Aging Knowledge and Expectations and Reduces Ageism in Younger Adults

Sarah L. Francis, Jennifer A. Margrett, Kara Hoerr, Marc J. Peterson, Abbie Scott, Warren D. Franke

Abstract


This article discusses a study which evaluated the effects of an intergenerational service-learning exergaming program for older adults on younger adults’ aging knowledge, expectations, and perceptions. Eighteen college students (ages 19-26 years) served as trainers for an 8-week exergaming physical activity program for older adults (12 contact hours). Questionnaires assessing aging knowledge, ageist attitudes and aging expectations were completed at Weeks 1, 8, and 25 (follow-up); program evaluations were completed at Weeks 8 and 25. Significant improvement from Week 1 to Week 25 was found for: Aging knowledge scores (p<0.03), positive aging expectations regarding mental health (p<.02), positive aging expectations regarding cognitive health (p=.043), overall aging expectations (p<.05), ageism (stereotypes) (p<.02) and ageism (separation) (p=.000). All trainers ranked their experience as “good to excellent.” This intergenerational service learning program is effective in improving aging knowledge, expectations and perceptions.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2014.50

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