Attitudes toward aging among Pacific islander health students in Fiji

Maureen Gattuso, Anna Shadbolt

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The relation between attitudes to aging and cultural values is a complex one. This study contrasts attitudes to aging among Pacific Islander students with attitudes in a comparable Australian sample. Australian society is represented as ageist, whereas Pacific Islander cultures are reported to be age-inclusive. Attitudes were assessed using the Reactions to Ageing Questionnaire, and data also were collected on levels of intimate contact with older people, said to be related to attitude. A comparison of Australian with Pacific Islander data showed no difference in attitude or degree of intimate contact. Within the Pacific Islander sample indigenous Fijians had significantly more positive attitudes than did Indo-Fijians and significantly more intimate contact. Indo-Fijians, but not indigenous Fijians, also were significantly more negative in attitude than Australian students. Educators aiming to incorporate gerontological knowledge and to challenge ageism in the curriculum should not assume student attitudes are congruent with traditional cultural beliefs. They need to be knowledgeable about and sensitive to differences among various cultural groups within the student population, especially where those students will have the health care of the old in their hands in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-106
    Number of pages8
    JournalEducational Gerontology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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