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Date of Award

6-2018

Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work

Department

School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Brooklyn Sapozhnikov

Abstract

As the baby boomer generation continues growing older, the geriatric community, and their needs grow larger. Many of those needs will necessitate the assistance of social workers’ knowledgeable of geriatrics. Research suggests that many social workers have negative attitudes toward older adults and show little interest in working with the population. The research question of this study was, does social workers’ personal, educational, and professional experience in geriatrics influence their knowledge on aging, and attitudes toward older adults? The researcher hypothesized that social workers with more experience have more knowledge on aging and view older adults more positively. Quantitative and Qualitative data was collected through the administration of a survey created through the online platform Qualtrics. Study participants consisted of 33 social workers located in the state of California. The data was analyzed using univariate and bivariate tests such as frequency, percentage, Pearson r correlation coefficient, and One-Way ANOVA, through the JMP data analysis software program. Additionally, the researcher read over study participants written responses in order to identify themes that emerged. Significant findings were found that supported the hypothesis. A significant relationship was found between social workers’ professional experience (number of years of job experience caring for an older adult), and their knowledge on aging (Facts on Aging II score). Also, the effect of study participants reported education level on their attitudes toward older adults, and knowledge on aging were also significant. Finally, nearly half of study participants reported some degree of interest in working with older adults, while the other half were either impartial or uninterested. The themes identified by the researcher, identified in participants written explanation of their level of interest in working with older adults, suggests that social workers’ interest in working with older adults is influenced by the degree to which they perceive the work as important, enjoyable, and fulfilling their professional goals. The results and findings of this study could contribute to the body of research focused on identifying what influences social workers’ interest for working in geriatrics.

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