Determination of Gerontology Students’ Attitudes towards AgeismHatice Selin Irmak
The aim of this study was to identify the factors that differentiate the age discrimination levels of the Department of Gerontology students. The study was carried out with 208 undergraduate students from Istanbul UniversityCerrahpaşa Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Gerontology, who agreed to participate in the research. Personal Information Form and Fraboni Ageism Scale were used to collect data. The total mean score of the Fraboni Ageism Scale of the students was 60.95±9.78, and their attitudes toward ageism were found to be positive. When the Fraboni Ageism Scale total scores and all subscale scores were evaluated according to the grades of the students, it was found that there was a statistically significant difference between the total scores of both the scales and all subscale scores of fourth-grade students and second-first-grade students (p<.05). The scale total scores and subscale total scores of the fourth-grade students are lower than the students in other classes. From this point of view, it was observed that the fourth-grade students faced less age discrimination. Thus, it was found that the gerontology department students had generally positive attitudes toward elderly individuals. In this context, it can be stated that the courses taken by the students on aging and senility from the first years of their education will be beneficial for them to develop positive attitudes towards the elderly individuals with whom they will work in their post-graduation.
Gerontoloji Bölümü Öğrencilerinin Yaşa Dayalı Ayrımcılığa (Ageism) İlişkin Tutumlarının BelirlenmesiHatice Selin Irmak
Bu çalışma Gerontoloji Bölümü öğrencilerinin yaş ayrımcılığı düzeylerini farklılaştıran faktörleri belirlemek amacıyla yapılmıştır. Bu doğrultuda çalışma İstanbul Üniversitesi-Cerrahpaşa Sağlık Bilimleri Fakültesi Gerontoloji Bölümü’nde eğitim öğretim gören ve araştırmaya katılmayı kabul eden 208 lisans öğrencisi ile yürütülmüştür. Verilerin toplanmasında Kişisel Bilgi Formu ve Fraboni Ageism Ölçeği kullanılmıştır. Öğrencilerin Fraboni Ageism Ölçeği toplam puan ortalaması 60.95±9.78 olup, yaş ayrımcılığına ilişkin tutumları olumlu bulunmuştur. Öğrencilerin sınıflarına göre Fraboni Ageism Ölçeği toplam puanları ve tüm alt ölçek puanları değerlendirildiğinde, dördüncü sınıf öğrencileri ile ikinci ve birinci sınıf öğrencilerinin Fraboni Ageism Ölçeği toplam puanları ve tüm alt ölçek puanları arasında istatistiksel olarak anlamlı bir farklılık olduğu bulunmuştur (p<.05). Dördüncü sınıf öğrencilerinin ölçek toplam puanları ve alt ölçek toplam puanları diğer sınıflardaki öğrencilere göre daha düşüktür. Buradan hareketle dördüncü sınıf öğrencilerinin yaş ayrımcılığı düzeylerinin daha düşük olduğu görülmektedir. Sonuç olarak gerontoloji bölümü öğrencilerinin yaşlı bireylere ilişkin tutumlarının genel anlamda olumlu olduğu bulunmuştur. Bu kapsamda öğrencilerin eğitim öğretimlerinin ilk yıllarından itibaren yaşlanma ve yaşlılık dönemine ilişkin aldıkları derslerin, mezuniyet sonrası dönemde birlikte çalışacakları yaşlı bireylere karşı olumlu tutum geliştirmelerinde faydalı olacağı söylenebilir.
People associate old age with a decline in productivity, abilities, and independence in all aspects of life. In today’s capitalist societies, the accumulation, education, and experience of the elderly are ignored, and the elderly are discussed in terms of their role as consumers and their economic burden. These false beliefs negatively affect the integration of the elderly with society and benefit from social welfare services. As a result of all these issues that elderly individuals may face, ageism emerges and they might be exposed to discrimination in their social and social lives. When the literature on discrimination against elderly people was examined; it was seen that studies are being conducted in various countries to determine attitudes toward the elderly among various professions and student groups. When the literature on students studying in different fields is examined; it has been seen that studies are showing that students have negative attitudes toward older individuals and studies show that they have positive attitudes.
The attitudes of gerontologists, who are among the primary professionals involved in the provision, planning, and organization of services for the elderly in our country, are among the factors influencing the quality of service to be provided to the elderly. They work with the elderly in a bio-psycho-social aspect and are expected to have the fewest stereotypes and prejudices toward the elderly, as are all professionals in the field of elderly welfare. However, as it affects the forms of relationships established with the elderly, which brings age discrimination with it, stereotypes such as avoiding spending time with the elderly, not wanting to communicate, and not spending effort to get to know and understand the elderly are often internalized without realizing it. As a result, it is both a human and professional responsibility to conduct the necessary studies to identify discriminatory attitudes and behavior, as well as stereotypes that may cause discrimination, in order to develop basic strategies and approaches to combat discrimination, in collaboration with gerontologists who must practice their profession without any discrimination. It has been observed that there are few studies in the relevant literature that directly address the age discrimination levels of the students of the gerontology department. The fact that students in the Department of Gerontology have more positive attitudes than other students supports the idea that education focused on science and care of the elderly can change negative stereotypes and prejudices. The aim of this study was to determine the factors that differentiate the age discrimination levels of the students of the Gerontology Department of Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Health Sciences.
The age discrimination levels of the students of the research gerontology department; is a quantitative design study using a descriptive type of relational survey model, which aims to predict socio-demographic characteristics and characteristics related to elderly individuals. The main research question of the study is What are the factors that differentiate the age discrimination levels of the students of the department of gerontology? in this context. The study sample consisted of 208 undergraduate students studying at the Gerontology Department of Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Health Sciences, who voluntarily accepted to participate in the research. Personal Information Form and Fraboni Ageism Scale were administered to the students who agreed to participate in the study.
The total mean score of the individuals participating in the study on the Fraboni Ageism Scale was found to be 60.95±9.78, with the lowest score on the scale being 41, and the highest score being 96. The mean stereotypes subscale score of the scale was 32.25±5.87, the lowest score was 16, and the highest score was 49; the mean score of the avoidance subscale was 17.96±4.70, the lowest score was 10, and the highest score was 32; The mean discrimination subscale score was 10.74±2.91 points, with 6 being the lowest score, and the highest score was 19 points. In this regard, it was found that the attitudes of gerontology department students toward age discrimination were generally positive. These results are also similar to the results of the research in the literature showing that the attitudes of the students of the gerontology department, faculty of nursing, faculty of medicine, and elderly care program towards the elderly are positive.
When the mean scores of the students from the Fraboni Ageism Scale were evaluated based on their descriptive characteristics, the gender of the students, the place they lived the most, their family type, the status of the students who have previously lived in the same house with their elders, the duration of living together; it was found that there was no statistically significant difference between the levels of age discrimination according to where their grandparents currently live and whether they want to live with their parents in the future. It was found that as the education level of the students of the Department of Gerontology increased, their average scores on the Fraboni Ageism Scale decreased significantly and their positive attitudes increased. According to the literature, the higher the grade level of students studying in various departments, the more positive the students’ attitudes toward older individuals. It is expected that as the education and training level of the individuals increase, they will develop more positive attitudes towards the elderly and old age, as well as a different perspective toward the rights and lives of the elderly.
The content of the education of the students of the Department of Gerontology focuses entirely on the field of aging; it is seen that they have a multidisciplinary field that includes social work, sociology, psychology, biology, health, social care, and social policies. The fact that the attitudes of the students of the Department of Gerontology have a more positive attitude supports the view that education focused on the science and care of the elderly can change negative stereotypes and prejudices. In the literature, studies were showing that the attitude toward ageism is less in society or among individuals who receive old age education and have awareness of old age. According to the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis research on the prevention of ageism; it was determined that the students developed positive attitudes toward elderly individuals as a result of the training provided to them and their interaction with the elderly individuals. These initiatives have been shown to reduce the negative consequences of ageism significantly. It is believed that the students of the Department of Gerontology have positive attitudes toward ageism because these students complete their applied courses in different areas such as nursing homes, care centers, and elderly living centers, which necessitate constant contact and communication with the elderly person and that this experience has a positive effect on the knowledge and attitudes they have gained.