Attitudes of Australian therapists toward older clients: educational and training imperatives

Helmes, Edward, and Gee, Susan (2003) Attitudes of Australian therapists toward older clients: educational and training imperatives. Educational Gerontology, 29 (8). pp. 657-670.

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Abstract

As Australia's population ages, there is concern that mental health professionals may not be prepared to deal with the increasing number of older people. The present study conducted a postal survey of Australian psychologists and counselors to ascertain whether older clients are less likely to be diagnosed with depression and are regarded less favorably than younger clients. Respondents received one of two versions of a vignette describing a depressed female client. The vignettes differed only in whether the fictitious client was aged 42 or aged 72. Responses were received from 414 psychologists and 293 counselors, representing a response rate of 38%. In general, response patterns did not differ between psychologists and counselors. Most respondents correctly identified depression regardless of the client's age. Attitudes toward treating the older client were consistently less favorable than for the younger client. The older client was rated as significantly less able to develop an adequate therapeutic relationship, to have a poorer prognosis, and to be less appropriate for therapy; and the therapists felt less competent in treating her and were less willing to accept her as a client. The evidence of an age bias has significant implications for the education and training of psychologists and counselors.

Item ID: 6257
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1521-0472
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2010 00:24
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 4
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