Nursing students’ attitudes towards older people and nursing older people
: a comparison of two attitudinal measurement scales

  • Lindsay Dingwall

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


    People aged 65 years and over are the largest users of health care services. Reports into healthcare quality suggest that healthcare professionals’ ageist attitudes and behaviours may contribute to unsatisfactory experiences and avoidable harm to older patients. Solutions to improve quality, include recruiting nursing students at point of registration who hold positive attitudes towards older people and have the prerequisite skills and knowledge for effective care delivery. However, nursing students’ attitudes could be influenced by the care cultures they engage with and they may be reluctant to seek employment in clinical areas with high volumes of older people.

    At the time of this study, there was limited empirical evidence of nursing students’ attitudes towards older people or their attitudes towards older people in a healthcare context. The aim of this study was to inform a gap in the research by

    1. Exploring the factor structures and psychometric properties of a scale that measures attitudes towards older people (Kogan 1961) and a scale that measures attitudes towards nursing older people (McLafferty 2007).

    2. Determining whether either, or both, scales are reliable and have sufficient sensitivity to detect any change in adult nursing students’ attitudes towards older people over the first year of their adult nursing programme.

    The research design used a quantitative within-subjects, longitudinal panel survey over an academic year with a convenience sample of three consecutive cohorts of Adult Field nursing students (N=530).

    Collected data underwent Principal Components Analysis to explore the individual factor structure and psychometric properties of both scales. Extracted factors were used separately with repeated measures tests to measure nursing students’ attitudes towards older people and nursing older people and to detect any changes over time.

    Findings from this study suggest that nursing students’ attitudes towards older people and nursing older people are positive and do not change over time. However, Kogan’s (1961) scale in its current form may not be valid for use with current UK-based nursing students and requires further testing across more than one Higher Education Institute. Further psychometric testing of McLafferty’s (2007) scale is also required before it could be used to inform the knowledge base relating to nursing students’ attitudes towards nursing older people. To test both scales for discriminant validity, a variable should be introduced that measures nursing students’ future intentions to nurse older people.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMartyn Jones (Supervisor) & Heather Whitford (Supervisor)


    • Older people
    • Attitudes
    • Nursing Students

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