Self-reported ageism in social work practitioners and students

Priscilla D. Allen, Louisiana State University School of Social Work, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803-5501, USA.
Katie E. Cherry
Erdman Palmore


In this study, we focus on self-reported ageism in college students and social service providers using the Relating to Older People Evaluation (ROPE; Cherry & Palmore, 2008). The ROPE is a 20-item questionnaire that measures positive and negative ageist behaviors that people engage in during everyday life. Participants included undergraduate and graduate social work students and practicing social service providers in the nursing home and mental health setting. Findings indicate that people of varying educational backgrounds and occupational experience in social services readily admit to positive ageist behaviors. Item analyses revealed similarities and differences between groups in the most and least frequent forms of ageism endorsed. Ageism as a social phenomenon with implications related to social work policy and practice is discussed.