Predictors of Working With Older Adults in an Australian Psychologist Sample: Revisiting the Influence of Contact

Deborah Anne Koder*, Edward Helmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite increasing numbers of older people in most global populations and increasing evidence of the efficacy of psychological therapy in older clinical populations, few psychologists work with older clients as compared with other clinical groups. In the present research, the authors examine potential influences on psychologists choosing to specialize in working in the field of aging. The authors surveyed 1,498 psychologists Australia-wide to examine which factors exerted the most influence on choosing to specialize in clinical work with older clients. Clinical exposure to older clients and age-related course content within training programs, together with further education external to formal training, were significantly correlated with specializing in aged care. Holding a more negative attitude toward one's own aging was another predictor of specialist category membership, with interest in working with older clients also being a significant factor based on direct logistic regression analysis. In contrast to previous work, amount or quality of contact with older persons did not appear to relate to working with older adults. These findings highlight the importance of quality training experiences in influencing attitudes toward working with older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ageism
  • clinical training
  • contact hypothesis
  • geropsychology
  • older adults

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