Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2014

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Gordon, Jean K.

First Committee Member

Louko, Linda J.

Second Committee Member

Zebrowski, Patricia

Third Committee Member

Williams, Kristine


Given the increasingly growing elderly population, and the large number of young Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), cultural competence regarding intergenerational ageism is a necessity. The current study aimed to discover whether SLP students are influenced by age-related stereotypes or judge communication objectively when assessing the language of older adults. First-year and second-year SLP graduate students evaluated narratives paired with images of older and younger adults on rating scales of language and communication. The results show that, although students primarily judge narratives based on quality, their language judgments are influenced by gender- and age-related stereotypes. Students judged males and females differently based on their age, with younger males rated worse overall. Students also appeared to lower their expectations when judging the language of older adults, suggesting that they expected poorer language skills to be more typical of older adults. The extent to which such biases may influence the students' communication with older adults is still unknown.


Ageism, Geriatrics, Speech-Language Pathology, Stereotypes


vii, 67 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 42-47).


Copyright 2014 Jessica Taylor