As elsewhere in the world, the population of the United States (U.S.) is rapidly aging, with over one in four persons predicted to be over 60 by 2050. Social workers interested in working with older adults are greatly needed to work with the large number of baby boomers set to enter retirement age over the next two decades. This study examines surveys from 135 Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students in an urban U.S. university. It assesses interest in gerontological social work as indicated by the BSW Experiential Learning (BEL) Outcomes Measure. The principal components of the Attitudes on Adult Aging Scale are also explored. Comparisons of 41 African American students with 81 white students find that African American students have more positive attitudes towards aging and greater interest in gerontological social work in comparison to white students. Greater interest in gerontological social work as indicated by higher BEL scores are predicted by: positive attitudes towards aging, increased lifetime experience with older adults, and being African American. Future research is needed to further examine racial differences in aging attitudes and interest in working with older adults.
|Keywords:||Attitudes towards Adult Aging, Older Adults, BSW Social Workers|
Coordinator, Gerontology Program and Assistant Professor, School of Social, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR, USA
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA