Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Koch, D. Shane


The purpose of this study was to test the effects of an educational intervention on the aging knowledge of graduate counseling students. Overcoming misconceptions, such as positive and negative stereotypes about older adults, is essential for graduate counseling students to be effectively trained to work with the aging population. Educational interventions have been found to be the most consistently effective way of increasing aging knowledge and helping individuals overcome ageist beliefs rooted in faulty aging knowledge. For this study, it was hypothesized that a comprehensive educational intervention (approximately 2 hours in duration) would increase overall aging knowledge, increase aging and mental health knowledge, and lower levels of negative aging bias; moreover, this study hypothesized that adding a structured discussion (approximately 20 minutes in duration) after the educational intervention would further increase overall aging knowledge and overall aging and mental health knowledge and further reduce levels of negative aging bias. In addition, it was hypothesized that students who received the educational intervention or the educational intervention with structured discussion would be better able to process three exploratory aging related vignettes than the group of students who received no educational intervention. The findings of this study suggest that the use of an educational intervention alone may not be enough to increase overall aging knowledge, increase aging and mental health knowledge, and decrease negative aging bias among graduate counseling students. However, it does appear that adding a structured discussion to an educational intervention is an easy way to produce superior results. In addition, it does not appear that using a short-term educational intervention, with or without structured discussion, is enough to impart the level of aging knowledge to graduate counseling students for them to be able to do more complicated tasks, such as processing an aging related vignette using factual knowledge.




This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.