Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda

Second Advisor

Dr. Ellen Page-Robin

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff


The relationship between social workers' attitudes toward the elderly and personal contact with older persons was investigated utilizing a sample survey research design. The assessment instrument included The Aging Semantic Differential (Rosencranz & McNevin, 1969) to measure attitude and an intergenerational contact measure developed and field tested for the study. The instrument was mailed to a random sample of 538 members of the Michigan Chapter, National Association of Social Workers. The research questions addressed were: (1) What are the attitudes of social workers toward the elderly? (2) What intergenerational contact has been experienced by social workers? (3) Is there a relationship between the social workers' attitudes and contact and, if one exists, is it in a positive or negative direction? (4) What differences appear in the relationship of these variables when demographic characteristics of the sample are considered? A questionnaire return rate of sixty-eight percent was realized for analysis. The data were positioned in the positive zone of the attitude items and the moderate to frequent/meaningful zone of the intergenerational contact items by the sample. No statistically significant differences were found among the attitude scores of the demographic subgroups within their respective categories. Significant differences were found between intergenerational contact scores with higher scores being recorded by the Gerontology and Administration Specialty Certification/Training and Medical/Health Care Work Setting subgroups. The correlation coefficient for the attitude and contact scores was positive and low. The development of a separate measure for the location/context of the contact was recommended for future studies into the relationship between attitude and intergenerational contact.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access