Attitudes towards older adults (80 years and older): A measurement with the ageing semantic differential - A cross-sectional study of Austrian students

G. Schuttengruber*, E. Stolz, C. Lohrmann, U. Kriebernegg, R. Halfens, F. Grossschadl

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: The aims of the study were to investigate the four-factor structure of the German version of the Aging Semantic Differential (ASD) and to gain initial insights into the attitudes of nursing, medical and humanities students towards older people in Austria.Method: A cross-sectional study design with a convenience sample was chosen.Results: The ASD was completed by 255 Austrian nursing, medicine, and humanities students, who described their attitudes towards persons who are 80 years of age and older. The applicability of the four-factor structure (instrumentality, autonomy, acceptability and integrity) of the German version was confirmed by performing a confirmatory factor analysis. The mean age of students in our sample was 23.6 years; 79% of these were female. The sample displayed negative attitudes regarding the factors of autonomy and instrumentality, but more positive attitudes regarding the factors integrity and acceptability. The attitudes of the students in the three study programmes differed, with the medical students displaying the most negative attitudes. Students who displayed positive attitudes had statistically significantly higher levels of knowledge about ageism and better possibilities to hold personal conversations with older people (80+) in the family or circle of friends.Conclusion: We conclude that having more knowledge about ageism and close personal contacts to older persons can support positive attitudes towards older individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12430
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Older People Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date30 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • age
  • ageing
  • ageism
  • aging semantic differential
  • ASD
  • gerontology
  • nursing students
  • WORK

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