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


  • Sarah L. Francis Iowa State University
  • Jennifer A. Margrett Iowa State University
  • Kara Hoerr Iowa State University
  • Marc J. Peterson Iowa State University
  • Abbie Scott Iowa State University
  • Warren D. Franke Iowa State University



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.






Program & Practice Articles