Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Barragan, Armando


The aging population in the United States will increase drastically in the next decades. Consequently, the field of aging will need more social workers. Beyond the usual cognitive decline of this stage in life, older adults may face conditions that include cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This research studied the extent to which personal experience and previous work exposure influences social work students’ interest in working with the elderly with cognitive impairment. This study used a cross-sectional survey design and collected the participants’ answers using a survey which was sent out through classroom visits and online via email; participants’ answers (n=133) were analyzed using a quantitative method. Results suggested that previous work exposure to an elderly with cognitive impairment has influence on the students’ current interest, while previous experience through interaction with family and friends was not an influence. Findings from this study may help promote the creation of internships or other ways of supporting social work students interested in developing a career in aging, as an increase in the number of future social workers in this field will help fulfill the needs of older adults.