Exploring Student Ageism Perceptions Using Life Review: An Educational Intervention


Background: Addressing student ageism is essential for promoting desires to work with older adults, but little is known about how life review intervention, used as an educational tool in OT programs, can affect ageism. This study aimed to explore the effect of life review on OT students’ ageism perceptions and desires to work with older adults.

Design: A qualitative focus group research approach was performed.

Method: Thirty entry-level occupational therapy students from a Texas university were used as a convenient sample. After participating in a 4-hour workshop, students conducted a life review with older adult volunteers. Data was collected during a focus group using audio-recording and field notes. A thematic approach to analysis was used including Dedoose web-based software with a code-recode procedure by 2 raters.

Measure: A focus group was conducted 2-weeks after the intervention using a semi-structured interview guide with 4 open-ended and 7 probing questions to elicit in-depth discussion of the life review experience.

Results: Four themes emerged related to the intervention: (1) experience influenced attitude; (2) preconceived ideas changed; (3) finding similarities and commonalities, and (4) reflective insight.

Conclusions: To impact ageism and desires to work with older adults, students should participate in life review experiences during program education.

Keywords: ageism, aged, occupational therapy, students, occupational therapy students, life review, health occupations, student desires to work with older adults

The author declares no competing interests.