ERIC Number: ED230681
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: N/A
Older Adults, Gerontologists, and Newspaper Reporting: Educational Implications.
Meredith, William H.; Rowe, George P.
Because of the knowledge explosion in the field of gerontology and the increased coverage of the field in the popular press, a study was conducted to determine how accurate older adults and gerontologists think newspaper stories about aging are. A convenience sample of 95 persons in the midwest over 65 years old--similar to national demographic data in terms of age, sex, and marital status, but better educated--and 78 midwestern faculty members interested in gerontology reacted to 17 statements presented in nationally syndicated newspaper articles as facts about aging. The elderly persons and the professors disagreed about the classification of older persons by age, with the elderly opting for classification by state of health or economic status while the professionals held to age categories. Three quarters of the older persons believed that illnesses are caused by elderly persons not keeping busy, while less than one quarter of the professionals agreed. In addition, 91 percent of the professionals, as opposed to 38 percent of the older persons, agreed that older persons have interest in continued sexual activity. Both groups agreed that senior citizens are relatively healthy and that being active slows the aging process, and both saw isolation and economics as prevalent concerns. Since both groups agreed on the accuracy of all but one newspaper statement included in the survey, it appears that journalists are doing a good job in reporting gerontology news. However, as one of the most important sources of education for both the elderly and the general public, journalists should get background information from both gerontologists and the elderly in preparing their articles. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A