Clinical psychologists in aged care in Australia: A question of attitude or training?

Deborah Anne Koder*, Edward Helmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Despite increasing numbers of older people in the Australian population, few psychologists work with this segment of the population. The prevalence of psychological disorders in this age group is substantial and there is increasing evidence for the effectiveness of psychological treatments for these conditions in older adults. This study explored the reasons for the limited number of psychologists who work with this growing population. A survey of more than 500 Australian psychologists based in Sydney, Australia, used the Reactions to Ageing Questionnaire to assess attitudes, and other questions enquired about training, current practice, and interest in work with older adults. The response rate was 39%, with 17% of the respondents being specialists in work with older adults. Stereotyped attitudes did not differentiate specialists from generalists, but interest in therapy with older adults did, along with age, years of practice and working in an aged care setting. While the limited survey restricts the generalisability of the results, they do suggest that training in itself is not sufficient to overcome a reluctance to work with older adults. Supervised practice settings appear to be effective, but greater efforts are needed to increase both academic training and work settings for work with older adults in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


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