Secondary school students' knowledge of and attitudes towards older people: does an education intervention programme make a difference? Academic Article uri icon


  • It is now increasingly recognised that if we are to combat ageism the attitudes and knowledge of young people need to be more positively constructed so that they do not hold stereotypic views of ageing. This study evaluates the impact of an educational intervention programme on the attitudes and knowledge of students aged 17–18 years from six secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia. Using Palmore's Facts on Aging Quiz to assess knowledge about and attitudes towards ageing in a quasi-experimental pre-test and post-test design, the results reveal that, in general, students hold low knowledge about older people and negative attitudes about ageing. However, the pre-test mean knowledge scores differed significantly between male and female students and across the various schools, and students who had greater contact with grandparents possessed slightly more knowledge. The post-test results show that the intervention education programme was not successful in raising the student's level of knowledge. The results also show that, in general, the students hold negative attitudes towards older people and that there was little change in their attitudes following the intervention programme. The paper discusses the implications of these results regarding curriculum development in education programmes on ageing intended for young people.

publication date

  • March 1998