The Productive Aging Concept and Social Work Students’ Perceptions Toward an Older Population

Academic Article


  • Social work curriculum that offers an optimistic perspective on aging has the potential to help social work students go on to practice in a nondiscriminatory way with older adults. This study introduces social work students to the productive aging concept, an optimistic view to social potential in later life, in lecture format and assesses postlecture changes in their perceptions of older adults. Seventy-two students (16 BSW; 56 MSW) were recruited from a large university in the southeast United States to participate in a lecture on productive aging. A one-group pretest–posttest design was used, and a paired samples t test (n = 72) was used to analyze changes in social work students’ perceptions toward older adults. Negative attitudes toward older adults decreased and positive attitudes toward older adults increased among students following their participation in the lecture on productive aging. This finding suggests the productive aging concept may favorably influence student perceptions of older adults. Future research should aim to investigate ways in which these changes in perception at the college level can translate and self-sustain in social work practice for social work students postgraduation.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kim J; Lee J; Sims OT
  • Start Page

  • 149
  • End Page

  • 155
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 2