Author(s): Edwards MJ, Aldous IR
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Abstract Attitudes to and knowledge about elderly people were assessed in 1091 students and lecturers from the London Hospital Medical College (LHMC), London, UK and the English and Computer Science departments of Queen Mary and Westfield College (QMW), London, UK. General knowledge about elderly people was measured by the Palmore 'Facts about Aging Quiz 1'. Attitudes towards elderly people were measured by the Rosencranz and McNevin Semantic Differential scale. A higher level of knowledge about elderly people was found both in medical students and in medical lecturers compared to their counterparts in the English and Computer Science departments (P < 0.001). The cross-sectional data indicated that medical students developed a significantly increasing knowledge about elderly people as they progressed through their training, in contrast to students of English and Computer Science. Scores on the Rosencranz & McNevin scale indicated that attitudes towards elderly people across all three groups of students and lecturers were similar. The scores obtained for all groups indicated that they held approximately neutral attitudes towards elderly people. A significant correlation (P < 0.001) was found between high levels of knowledge about elderly people, and positive attitudes towards them. The necessity of interventions to improve general attitudes towards and knowledge of elderly people among medical students is questioned. It is suggested that future research should look beyond surveys of general attitudes towards elderly people for the causes of the current lack of interest in geriatric medicine.
This article was published in Med Educ
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research