Exploring College Student Perceptions of the Elderly Through Surveys and Interviews
In the United States, there is a general stigma that elderly adults are unable to function in the way that they once could. After reviewing previous research that evaluated young adults’ perception of the elderly, I surveyed 213 students and conducted 10 interviews with students at the University of Dayton regarding their own opinions of older adults. My goal was to gain better insight into how college students on this campus view elderly adults both physically and mentally. I also evaluated what age participants consider to be “older”. While there were differing opinions across campus, my research shows that there is a prominent ageist attitude amongst college-aged students. Many students tended to think of elderly adults as incapable, wrinkly, and needy. These results show that elderly adults are in some ways a marginalized age group. This outcome is significant because it shows that there is an opportunity for change on college campuses. This change could be presented as intergenerational classes or activities. It could also be as simple as educating youth about aging.
Anya Galli Robertson
Primary Advisor's Department
Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
"Exploring College Student Perceptions of the Elderly Through Surveys and Interviews" (2020). Stander Symposium Projects. 1884.