Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 5-1979


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College in the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Adult and Continuing Education Under the Supervision of Professor Robert J. Floren


The primary objective of the study was to survey attitudes of middle-aged women toward aging. The secondary objective was to give direction in planning educational programs for this age group. The problem was to determine the relationship among attitudes toward aging and attitudes toward self, satisfaction in resolving developmental tasks, and contact with older people and planning for old age. An analysis was also made of the relationship of attitudes toward aging and perceived financial security and perceived health in old age. This study was an exploratory, descriptive survey utilizing a proportionate random sample of 241 Extension Club members in the state of Nebraska between the ages of 40 and 65 years. Questionnaires were sent by mail and were self-administered. Results are based upon an 88.6 percent return of useable questionnaires. The Rosencranz-McNevin Semantic Differential was utilized as the measure of attitudes toward aging. Each of the three dimensions of this instrument was considered separately in relation to items contained within each of the major independent variables. The Semantic Differential was also used for measuring attitudes toward self. The investigator developed other measures used in the study. Six null hypotheses were tested. Pearson product moment correlation, tests and analysis of variance were utilized for the statistical analysis. Results showed significant relationships of attitudes toward aging in all three dimensions and attitudes toward self in all three dimensions; contacts with older persons as friends, neighbors, members of a group and parents; and satisfaction in completing three of the developmental tasks. Partial significant relationships were found between attitudes toward aging in one or two of the three dimensions including perceptions of health at age 70; one of the areas of planning for old age; and satisfaction in completing eight of the developmental tasks. No significant relationships were found for attitudes toward aging in any of the three dimensions and perception of adequacy of income in retirement; contact with older relatives; satisfaction in completing four of the developmental tasks; and eleven of the twelve areas of planning for old age.