Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services

First Advisor

Nadeeja Wijayatunga

Second Advisor

Teresa Carithers

Third Advisor

Kathy Knight

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Although the older adult population continues to increase, ageism remains an issue in the healthcare system and is prevalent among nutrition-related professionals. The aim of our study is to is determine the effectiveness of an educational intervention to reduce ageism among pre-healthcare professionals including Nutrition major students. Undergraduate students enrolled in an entry-level nutrition class were recruited and randomized into an intervention (INT) group (n=30) and a control (CON) group (n=29). The online educational intervention consisted of pre-recorded lectures and videos regarding ageism and myths regarding aging for the INT group, and on cultural competency and biases (other than ageism) for the CON group. After the online educational intervention, participants were asked to briefly describe what they learned from the lesson and submit their answers on Blackboard. Changes in ageism were measured at pre-, immediate-post, and 2-weeks post-intervention using the Fraboni Scale of Ageism (FSA), the Ambivalent Ageism Scale (Total AAS), AAS subscales including benevolent and hostile, the Age Implicit Association Test. Mixed model analysis with repeated measures was used. Participants were mostly female (n=55), white, non-Hispanic (n=37), and in their second year of school (n=25). Although age was significantly different between groups (about 22 vs 20 years in INT vs CON, respectively). However, age did not correlate with any of the ageism scores (p>0.05). There were no significant group-by-time interactions for any of the ageism scores (p>0.05). However, in the simple effect analysis per group, perceived “old-age” cut-off increased significantly, while FSA, total AAS, and AAS-hostile subscale scores decreased significantly, and these changes remained at 2 weeks (p0.05). Findings from this study suggest that our online educational intervention may be useful in reducing ageism among undergraduate nutrition and dietetic students. However, larger-scale randomized studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Available for download on Sunday, June 04, 2023

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