Ageing and loss attitudes of social work students: a cross-sectional study

Pentaris, Panagiotis. 2023. Ageing and loss attitudes of social work students: a cross-sectional study. Social Work Education, ISSN 0261-5479 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

The world’s population is radically shifting; with the help of medicine and technology, people live longer and increasingly healthier lives. As a result, professions like social work are faced with the need for new and expert skills and knowledge when working with people of older age and those experiencing loss. To identify such needs, the exploration of current views is paramount as it will shed light to gaps in skills and knowledge altogether. This is a cross-sectional study that examines social work students’ attitudes and perceptions of old age and losses associated with it. A self-administered Qualtrics-based survey was completed by 128 social work students in graduate and postgraduate programmes in England. The study found that social work students generally view old age as a time of increased knowledge or wisdom but associate it highly with nine undesirable domains: loneliness, illness, frailty, lack of respect, losses (mental and physical), identified as ‘grumpy and miserable’, dependency, social disengagement, and the fear of saying goodbye to people (death). The study also identifies ethnic and religious divides in these views, while it concludes with the need for advanced training and education in social work with older people and associated losses experienced.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Gerontological social work; old age; loss; attitudes; ageing

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Centre for Community Engagement Research
Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Social Work


23 November 2023Accepted
12 December 2023Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Dec 2023 14:18

Last Modified:

14 Dec 2023 14:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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