Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Caridad F. Brito


Failure to meet geriatric mental health needs is increasingly problematic. Research indicates that the problem is not simply a matter of insufficient numbers of mental health practitioners (MHPs), but also ageist attitudes and lack of knowledge about and training with older adults. The current study reviews the literature regarding knowledge about older people, education and training that mental health professionals receive, and the attitudes that are held by mental health professionals. The study also assessed for differences in treatment recommendations that MHP made for older versus younger clients, investigated whether MHP knowledge about the mental health of older adults, attitudes towards older people and gerontological education/training were associated with different treatment recommendations across age categories, explored the possibility of associations between knowledge about geriatric mental health and attitudes, and between gerontological training and knowledge and attitudes respectively. To achieve this, 104 participants were recruited to take an online survey comprised of 6 clinical case samples, the Facts on Aging Quiz: Part 2, Facts on Aging Mental Health Quiz, Kogan's Attitudes toward Older People Scale, and gerontological education and training questionnaire. Results indicated that there was a significant difference between treatment recommendations made for older versus younger clients, and that attitude scores were predictive of intensity of treatment recommendation. No significant relationship was found between knowledge about the mental health of older adults and attitudes towards older adults, nor was any significant relationship found between gerontological training/education and either knowledge about the mental health or older adults or attitudes towards older adults.