Filipino university students’ expectations towards ageing: engaging younger generations to combat ageism.
Marcelo Savassi Kakihara, Kyoto University, Japan
Melanie Tolentino, Central Luzon State University, Phillipines
The Philippines has a relatively young population, however predictions indicate that in the near future the country will transit to an aging society. The archipelago is formed by a thousand islands with distinct sociodemographic characteristics, which makes the ageing process of the population even more diverse than homogeneous countries. While some older adults may experience a fast decline on physical and mental health, others will experience the process in a lower pace. One of the possible causes for this difference may be ageism. Little is known about ageism in Philippines and its main determinants. Just a few academic papers were published about this topic and as far as we are concerned this is the first time that Filipino students’ expectation towards ageing has been assessed.
The current paper is originated from the final assignment of the course “Healthy Ageing for Impact in the 21st Century: Global Leaders Online Leaders Training” of the WHO’s open course online platform. The study consists of two phases. First, an educational webinar conducted to engage future young Filipino leaders to combat ageism in their communities. Second, an assessment of the participants’ expectation towards ageing in a pre-post study design, using ERA 38 questionnaire.
The study was conducted among university students of Central Luzon State University(CLSU) in Nueva Ecija, Phillipines. 60 students were recruited from CLSU Department of Social Sciences. The mean age of the group was 20.43 years old. 78,3% were women (n=47). 29% of the students lived with their grandparents and 48.4% met their grandparents often or always. Results show that the overall pre-test mean of expectation towards ageing was 53 (Max = 81.5, Min = 31.5), and post-test was 57.4 (Max = 98, Min = 32.8). Consistent with the previous studies that indicate the effectiveness of educational interventions on ageism’s levels, the webinar may have improved participants scores, t(59) = -3.115, p = .003. Cross sectional analysis has shown that participants with more intergenerational contact with their grandparents, had lower expectations towards ageing. At the same time, father and mother’s level of education was positively correlated to the scores. We hypothesize that many of the students may be exposed to poor ageing experiences, and this may negatively affect their expectations towards ageing. On the other hand, students with higher income may have more access to information and might be exposed to better examples of ageing. Further studies will be necessary to test this hypothesis and understand in detail how educational interventions and intergenerational contact can be optimally promoted among younger people to engage and raise awareness of new generations.