‘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 is transitioning to an ageing society in 2030 and preparations are needed to tackle the challenges of population ageing. In this decade, the call to educate people against ageism is entirely necessary to foster healthy ageing. Still, few studies have been published about ageism in Philippines and as far as we know this is the first to assess the effect of an educational intervention on stereotypes among undergraduate students.
The educational intervention is an offshoot 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. We developed a webinar to engage future young Filipino leaders to combat ageism in their communities. This webinar was structured based on the 2021 UN Global Report on Ageism, hence fundamental information about the issue (e.g., definition, scale, impact on health, etc.) were transmitted to the participants. The impact of the webinar on the stereotypes held by students was assessed through the Expectation Towards Ageing Survey (ERA 38) in a longitudinal study design.
The study was conducted among undergraduates (n = 112) of a state university in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Participants were recruited from Social Sciences related programs (n = 60; intervention group) and engineering and business fields (n = 52; control group). The age of the participants ranged from 19 to 24 years old (M = 20.2, SD = 0.89), and the majority were female as assigned sex 78,6% (n = 88). The results supported previous findings in the literature that indicate the potential of education to combat stereotypes based on age. While the intervention group showed significant improvement, the control group decreased its scores. A two ways repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant interaction Group x Time. Moreover, cross-sectional analysis has shown that participants with more intergenerational contact with their grandparents had lower expectations towards ageing. At the same time, father’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.