Assessing the Effectiveness of Intergenerational Virtual Service-Learning Intervention on Loneliness and Ageism: A Pre-Post Study

Healthcare (Basel). 2022 May 12;10(5):893. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10050893.


Background: Service-learning is an effective intervention to solve social issues. The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of intergenerational virtual service-learning on loneliness and ageism.

Method: This study used a pre-post design. A group of undergraduate students were randomly assigned to a "service-learning" project (n = 18). They were paired with seniors (n = 22) to have at least a 30-min weekly virtual interaction for six weeks. The following scales were used: the Aging Semantic Differential (ASD) Scale, the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a one-item researcher generated Likert-rating of loneliness, and two-item researcher generated Likert-rating of student competence.

Results: Among college students, the service-learning group showed lower ASD and ageism scores at the post-test compared to the non-service-learning group, t (1, 40) = -2.027, p = 0.049; t (1, 40) = -2.102, p = 0.042, respectively. Among seniors, loneliness scores on the UCLA Scale and the one-item scale of loneliness dropped significantly from pre- to post-interactions with students, t (1, 19) = 2.301, p = 0.033, and t (1, 22) = 2.412, p = 0.009, respectively.

Conclusion: Virtual service-learning is an effective way to solve social issues such as loneliness and ageism.

Keywords: ageism; loneliness; service-learning.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.