Counseling the Geriatric Population: Gerontology Education, Agesim, and Death Anxiety as Predictors of Gerontological Counselor Competencies

Date
2017
Authors
Humphrey, Whitney
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Journal ISSN
Volume Title
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Abstract

The geriatric population is expected to double in size by the year 2050. Older adults present with unique mental health concerns. It is necessary and important for counselors to be aware of these concerns. However, extant researchers indicate that counselors are underprepared to work with this population. Further, researchers posit ageism and death anxiety may contribute to a reluctance to engage with older adults. This study examined relationships between gerontology education, ageism, death anxiety, and gerontological counselor competencies. Specifically, the significance of gerontology education, ageism, and death anxiety as individual predictors of gerontological counselor competencies was examined. Additionally, death anxiety was explored as a moderator of the relationship between gerontology education and gerontological counselor competencies and as a mediator between ageism and gerontological counselor competencies. Participants included 85 counselors-in-training among CACREP accredited programs across the United States. Results indicated gerontology education as the only significant predictor of gerontological counselor competencies. Results did not support death anxiety as a mediator to the relationship between gerontology education and gerontological counselor competencies. Results also did not support death anxiety as a moderator on the relationship between ageism and gerontological counselor competencies. Based on these findings, the counseling field must consider the importance of incorporating gerontological counselor training in efforts to improve gerontological counselor competencies.

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Keywords
counseling, gerontology
Citation
Department
Counseling