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The current project explored issues related to respect for older people, and then developed, implemented, and evaluated an educational intervention program for adolescents to raise understanding and improve attitudes toward older people. In Study 1, 46 focus groups were conducted, with participants (n = 211) drawn from older people, carers of older people, and adolescents to inform on issues related to the expression of respect to older people. The emergent themes were used to inform the design of the educational program delivered to adolescents and evaluated in Study 2. A total of 118 year-9 students were allocated to an intervention or control condition. The intervention group participated in 4 educational sessions focused on developing understanding of and respect for older adults, and promoting positive interactions with older people. Participants in both conditions completed measures of knowledge and attitudes to aging to determine whether the intervention had effected change at post-program and at 6-months follow-up. Analyses indicated significant improvements in knowledge, attitudes, and social skills related to older people in the intervention group compared to the control group. The findings from these studies provide a better understanding of what constitutes respect for older people, and a method for improving this in adolescents.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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