Attitudes towards the elderly among Singapore medical students

Ann Acad Med Singap. 2009 Oct;38(10):857-61.


Introduction: It is important that medical students possess the correct attitude towards the elderly and not have an ageist attitude. This is because they will be caring for an increasing proportion of elderly patients. We thus sought to assess the attitudes of our medical students towards the elderly.

Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study assessing the attitudes towards the elderly of 225 fi rst-year and 135 third-year students using a self-administered questionnaire that incorporated the Kogan's Attitudes Toward Old People Scale (KAOP). Elderly people were defined as those aged 65 years and above for this study.

Results: The majority of fi rst- (98.2%) and third-year (99.2%) medical students had positive attitudes towards elderly people (KAOP score above 102). KAOP scores were not significantly different regardless of seniority (medical student year), gender, race, household income, or having a doctor-parent. Although the mean KAOP score of third-year students was higher than that of fi rst-year students, this was not significantly different (P = 0.062).

Conclusions: Medical students in Singapore have a positive attitude towards the elderly. It is important that their medical curriculum continues to have an increasing geriatric component in view of the increasing numbers of older persons that they will be caring for due to the ageing population.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychometrics
  • Self-Assessment
  • Singapore
  • Social Perception*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult