A cross-cultural examination of college students’ knowledge of aging and their experiences with older adults: China, Japan, and the United States
The current study compared responses from college students on a survey questionnaire about aging knowledge, aging attitudes, aging anxiety, experiences with older persons, and other related experiences. A total of 1124 college students from China (430), Japan (349), and the United States (345) participated in this study. They completed Palmore’s Facts on Aging Quiz, Kogan’s Attitudes toward Older persons Scale, and a modified Lasher and Faulkender’s Aging Anxiety Scale. Cronbach’s alphas indicated satisfactory reliability on all three scales for the three cultural groups of participants. They also reported their experiences with aging and the older adults including living with, taking care of, working with older persons, and taking a gerontology course. The results indicate that the Chinese students scored significantly higher than both the Japanese and Americans on Facts on Aging Quiz. Findings also show that overall, level of aging knowledge is positively related to aging attitudes and negatively related to aging anxiety. In addition, our study shows that very few students in all three countries have ever taken a gerontology related class. Further, past and current experiences with the older adults do not seem to be related to participants’ aging knowledge, with the exception of Chinese and Japanese women. These results are discussed in a global aging context of reducing ageism and the evolving nature of both Eastern Asian and American cultures.
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