Yamashita, T., Kinney, J.M., Lokon, E. (2011). The impact of a Gerontology Course and a Service Learning Program on College Student’s Attitudes toward People with Dementia. Journal of Applied Gerontology. doi: 10.1177/0733464811405198.
We examined the effects of a gerontology course and an intergenerational service learning
project for people with dementia (PWD) on three dimensions of students’ attitudes including attitudes toward older people, community service for older people, and working with PWD. Data consisted of a combination of pretest/posttest survey and review of journals that students maintained during the service-learning project. Results indicated that students who completed the gerontology course, and those who completed both the course and the service-learning project, reported significantly more positive attitudes toward older adults, whereas students in the course only had significantly less positive attitudes about working with PWD, and those in the other courses (sociology) showed no change in their attitudes. Students’ journals are replete with reports of the satisfaction they derived from their experiences. The findings highlight opportunities and challenges that should be considered in future intergenerational service-learning programs and gerontological education.