Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Social psychology, Social work with older people, Social workers -- Attitudes



Physical Description

3, xviii, 371 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


This study investigates attitudes toward working with older clients held by service providers in an urban social service system. Four samples were involved: three of providers (Interview Panel, n = 22; Pretest Sample, n = 89; and Survey Sample, n = 428) and one of providers and their older clients (Encounter Sample, n = 52 providers, 147 clients). The first time samples included 13 provider types: hospital doctors, nurses, and nurses aides; in-home nurses and aides; nursing home nurses and aides; mental health practitioners; and income, nutrition, transportation, housing, and interaction personnel. The Encounter Sample included: in-home nurses and aides, and interaction personnel. All samples came from the Portland (Oregon) SMSA. Data were collected during May 1977 to August 1978. Results are of three types: an analytical model, a set of measurement scales, and research findings. The model consists of elements from the general literature on attitudes which are made specific to the study of providers' attitudes toward working with older clients. Its aim is to promote comprehensiveness and comparability of research in this area, and to suggest research questions. Two kinds of scales were developed: "general attitude" scales (measuring providers' attitudes toward working with older clients in the abstract) and "specific attitude" scales (measuring providers' attitudes toward individual older clients). For general attitudes, 10 scales operationalize cognitions of older clients, 9 scales operationalize cognitions of the job situation, 3 scales operationalize affect toward older clients, 1 scale operationalizes affect toward the job globally, and 1 scale operationalizes behavioral predispositions toward older clients. For specific attitudes, four scales operationalize cognitions of older clients. The scales' internal consistency reliability coefficients range from .50 to .89. The findings address six research questions, focusing on attitude valence, attitude uniformity across provider type, and the relationships between: cognition, affect, and behavioral predisposition; attitudes toward older clients versus the job situation; attitudes and choices of clients; and antecedents (e.g., providers' age) and attitudes. Major findings included: on the average, providers reported moderate positiveness toward both older clients and the job situation; and, across types, providers reported attitudes that were non-uniform in valence.


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Portland State University. School of Urban Affairs.

Persistent Identifier