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Abstract

Ageism and negative attitudes towards ageing have been identified within the literature as a cause for concern. Reactions to ageing are known to be strongly positively correlated with attitudes towards older people in general. Moreover, the link between ageist practice and quality of care is also established, but implications for education and training have not been explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the reactions to ageing of clinical and fieldwork educators of undergraduate students. Clinical and field work educators are largely responsible for all the clinical education received by these students and thus have the potential to be to be highly influential in the development of their attitudes towards the elderly. Reactions to ageing were measured among clinical educators registered with a University in South East England using The Reaction to Ageing Scale, and scores were classified into typologies. Results were obtained from 62% (n=87) physiotherapy and 87% (n=81) podiatry clinical educators and 71% (n=53) of occupational therapy fieldwork educators, attending training sessions. There was a significantly greater proportion of gerophiles among the physiotherapists than among the other groups. Podiatry gerophiles were significantly older than gerophiles in the other professional groups. The results from this small study suggest that further national work is indicated to examine attitudes in a larger population.

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