Master's Theses


Advanced Education Programs

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)


Ageism is a term that has evolved in recent years to describe prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviors that occur toward members of the human population as a result of the members' chronological or perceived age. Recent studies suggest that ageism exists within the context of post- secondary education. Research also indicates that age-based stereotyping exists as a specific component of ageism. The present study proposed to investigate the possible existence of ageism and/or age-based stereotyping at the University level. Specifically, the research attempted to determine whether negative stereotyping or age-based discriminatory attitudes exist toward nontraditional aged students on the part of traditional and/or nontraditional aged students at Fort Hays State University. Similarities and differences in demographic information were also examined. Demographic information, scored responses to non-leading inquiries ("Neutral"), scored responses to leading inquiries ("Biased"), and scored responses to non-leading and leading inquiries combined ("Ageism") were obtained from each respondent. Descriptive statistics, including means, standard deviations and frequency distributions were obtained for each of the demographic variables. Chi-square was performed on each demographic variable. Analysis of Variance was performed on group means from each item and on group means from each of the non-demographic categories of responses (“Neutral," "Biased" and "Ageism"). Factorial Analysis of variance was performed on non-demographic categories of responses, utilizing two levels of sex, two levels of student status, and scores. Significant differences were found between traditional aged students and nontraditional aged students on the following demographic variables: preferred seating, marital status, living arrangements, children (presence and number), number of hours studied per week, attendance of social events and attendance of athletic events. Significant differences were found to exist between traditional aged students and nontraditional aged students with regard to group means on the non-demographic categories of "Neutral," "Biased" and "Ageism," with traditional students exhibiting higher point totals on all three categories. Traditional aged students expressed negative attitudes toward nontraditional aged students regarding preferred classroom composition and social interaction. Negative attitudes toward traditional aged students were not expressed by nontraditional aged students on these variables. Traditional aged students expressed a preference that classes and social activities be comprised of other traditional aged students, while nontraditional aged students tended to favor a mixed academic and social environment. However, both traditional aged and nontraditional aged students expressed disapproval of proposed classroom segregation of traditional aged and nontraditional aged students. Traditional aged students expressed indifference, or "no opinion," when asked whether the current influx of nontraditional aged college graduates would pose a threat to their future employment. In contrast, nontraditional aged students strongly denied that their presence would pose a threat to traditional aged students in competition for employment.


Thomas T. Jackson

Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1994 Lisa Lynn Krueger Kinyon


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