AGEISM: PREVALENT IN SOCIAL WORK?
Do social workers tend to view older adults in negative terms? In order to assess differences in social workers' attitudes toward younger and older adult clients, social workers were surveyed. Respondents read a vignette describing a client seeking psychotherapy. The age, gender, and presenting problem of the client were manipulated. After reading the vignette, respondents rated the client. There were no differences on the global evaluation factor between clients described as 35 years old and clients described as 70 years old. However, the younger client was seen as more anxious, and the older client was seen as more slovenly. Responding social workers also indicated how much they would like to work with the client described in their vignette, and how much they felt they could help the client. There were no significant differences due to client age in the respondents' desire to work with the client, but the respondents felt that they would be able to help the younger client more than the older client. Results were interpreted as indicating a need for social workers to be more aware of possible implicitly negative attitudes they may hold toward older clients.