Attitudes and knowledge of social work students towards sexuality in later life

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Ahuva Even-Zohar, Bat Tzion Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Sexuality in later life may be compromised by restrictive attitudes, and lack of knowledge among professionals. This study examined social work students’ attitudes and knowledge towards sexuality and sexual expression in later life and investigated associated factors. Method: Undergraduate social work students from Israel (n = 375) completed the Attitudes and Knowledge towards Older Adult’s Sexuality Scale and questionnaires regarding contacts and exposure to older adults, prior sexual education and sociodemographic. Results: Attitudes and knowledge were correlated. First year students were the most conservative and demonstrated the least knowledge. No differences were found between men and women regarding attitude. However, men and married students had greater knowledge regarding older adults’ sexuality than women or non-married students did. Increased religious observance predicted more conservative attitudes. Age predicted more permissive attitudes and greater knowledge about sexuality in later life. A mediating process examined, suggested knowledge is a mediator variable between age and attitudes towards older adults’ sexuality. Conclusion: As the population in Israel and in Western countries ages, it is important to examine the knowledge and attitudes of social work students regarding older adults’ sexuality and to develop educational and interventional programs aimed at increasing awareness, knowledge, and positive attitudes in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-932
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number8
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2017


  • Older adults
  • attitudes
  • knowledge
  • sexuality
  • social work students


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