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ERIC Number: EJ862374
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-0141-8211
Changing Attitudes towards Ageing and the Aged amongst Psychology Students
Fonseca, Antonio; Goncalves, Daniela; Martin, Ignacio
European Journal of Education, v44 n3 p455-466 Sep 2009
Society is ageing. In Europe, the ageing of the population is a recurrent and discussed theme. The impact of the ageing of the population is varied and transversal in different fields. The increase in the number of elderly people implies an increase in the levels of dependence and, consequently, more sanitary, physical, and human resources. Also, the number of professionals linked directly or indirectly to the elderly increases according to the increase in the ageing population. Opportunities for the development of professional careers progressively appear and the new demographic panorama demands innovative tasks and services, appealing to the imagination of the professionals to answer the emerging needs. Psychology students can potentially develop their professional careers close to the elderly. The history of psychology close to the elderly is still recent when compared to other disciplines such as social work or nursing. Initial proposals on human development, of which Freud and Piaget are undoubtedly the better known representatives, imposed a restrictive view of development stagnation after adolescence. Starting in the middle of the 20th century, however, new perspectives on the potential of human development emerged, keeping in mind different factors for the promotion of and adaptation to the ageing process, gathered under the common designation of psychology of the life cycle. At present, psychology of the life cycle is subscribed consensually as one of the preferred ways of understanding the ageing processes, opening a wide field of research and activity. The role to be played by researchers and psychology professionals is progressively increasing. Despite the existence of a vast field of work in this area, psychology students' interest in working with the elderly is generally low. In fact, they do not manifest a spontaneous interest either in the field of research or the performing of specific tasks. When analysing their lack of interest, international literature seems to indicate the existence of three significant factors: (1) the manifested attitudes facing the age variable and a hypothetical scenario of working with the elderly; (2) the prejudice and stereotypes associated with the ageing processes and the elderly, and also the performing of professional functions in this sphere; and (3) the gaps in factual knowledge. It is in this context that the authors first analyse some general concepts on attitudes, suggesting afterwards some studies that analysed this theme from the specific point of view of the development of a professional career. (Contains 1 figure, 1 table, and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A