Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




This research project is an evaluation of a program in which adolescents (N = 17) interview elderly people for the purpose of documenting their life stories. The comparison group (N = 17) consisted of students in a poetry class at the same school;The independent variables were group membership, sex of subject, and prior experience with the aged. The difference scores obtained by subtracting pre-test scores from post-test scores on the dependent variables were grouped into two subsets, personal development and attitudes toward old people measures. These two subsets were analyzed using a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial MANOVA;The first research question focused on the impact of participation on adolescents' personal development and their attitudes toward old people. Significant multivariate effects were found for the group, sex, and sex by experience variables. The experimental group made greater gains in self-esteem and self-confidence in social situations than the comparison group. While females tended to improve their active listening skills more than males, males achieved greater growth on the measures assessing self-esteem, self-confidence in social situations, and socially responsible attitudes. Inexperienced males (low prior experience with the aged) had larger positive gains in social responsibility than inexperienced females or experienced males. This was especially noteworthy for the inexperienced males in the experimental group;The impact of participation on the elderly person's life satisfaction and morale and their attitudes toward young people was also assessed. Biographical variables did not distinguish those who returned only the pre-test (N = 6) from those returning the pre-post tests (N = 8). However, those returning both pre-post tests had lower life satisfaction on the pre-test. No changes in attitudes toward young people from pre-test to post-test were found although a trend for lower life satisfaction was noted;The third research question considered the impact of the relationships between the pairs of elderly and youth on adolescents' attitudes and personal development. No significant correlations between adolescents' difference scores and the elderly's life satisfaction or attitudes were found. Similar findings were obtained with the adolescents' ratings of the relationships. Several biographical variables of the elderly were found to be significantly correlated with changes in adolescents' attitudes and personal development.



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Sylvia Ashley-Cameron



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215 pages