Perceptions of Aging and Interaction Self-Efficacy with Older Adults Among Nursing Students through the Intergeneration Service-Learning Program

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Jiin-Ru Rong, PhD, RN
Shu-Chen Hsu, RN, MSN
School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan


    In today's society, the young people lack of opportunities interact with community-dwelling older adults. Many young adults, even including nursing students, may have negative attitude toward aging and have no confidence or no interest in interaction with elderly people. The healthy aging attitude and gerontological caring skills are essential competences for nurses in providing humanity gerontology care. In this study, the intergenerational service-learning program (IGSLP) was provided for nursing students to promote positive attitude to aging, interaction and communication skills with older adults.


    This was a two-group pre and post-test quasi-experimental study design. The IGSLP group activities were performed in the community at Taipei. Participants were 118 community-dwelling older adults and 133 undergraduate nursing students in this study. The experimental group of Nursing student (N=62, mean 19.77 years old) and community older adults (N=55, mean 71.13years old) participate in eight weeks of IGSLP together. The IGSLP was designed to promote students understanding of aging social issues and the communication and interaction skills with older adults. The IGSLP program was provided for experimental group by using group dynamic to promote the intergenerational collaboration activities, sharing the life stories, conduct daily activities, debate upon social issues, and discuss personal value and belief. The comparison group of nursing student (N=71, mean 20.03 years old) received eight weeks regular service-learning course only, and most students participate service activities at hospital or long term care institutions. And community older adults of the comparison group (N=63, mean70.37 years old) did not participate in any other community’s interventional activities.


    The outcomes of nursing students were to evaluate the attitude to older adults and communication and interaction self-efficacy with elderly adults. Both two groups of nursing students were significant progress in the attitude to aging and elderly people (p<001; p=.004), and elderly communication and interaction self-efficacy (p<001; p=.001), from pre-test to post-test. And the experimental group was significantly superior than comparison group in the attitude to elderly people (t=3.31 p=.01), but the elderly communication self-efficacy not achieve a statistically significant difference. The experimental group of older adults were significantly superior than comparison group in the attitude to elderly (t=3.02, p=.003) and happiness level (t=3.82,p<001)


Through the activities of IGSL and reflection, students can work with older adults, initiative to health care, creative, cooperative, responsible services activities. Moreover, the IGSL activities promote the nursing students’ interaction and communication self-efficacy, and positive attitude toward elderly people. In this study, the experimental elderly subjects had positive aging attitude and higher levels of the happiness than their comparison counterparts. Moreover, the elderly subjects reported that the IGSL program provides very meaningful experiences to them, because they can make friends with young people, increase health knowledge and improve emotional adaptation. The IGSLP provide a good foundation for nursing students in the future of professional services, and also can become a part of geriatric nursing and family nursing course are supported.