Medical student attitudes towards older people: A critical review of quantitative measures
Objectives: Further research into medical student attitudes towards older people is important, and requires accurate and detailed evaluative methodology. The two objectives for this paper are: (1) From the literature, to critically review instruments of measure for medical student attitudes towards older people, and (2) To recommend the most appropriate quantitative instrument for future research into medical student attitudes towards older people. Results: A SCOPUS and Ovid cross search was performed using the keywords Attitude and medical student and aged or older or elderly. This search was supplemented by manual searching, guided by citations in articles identified by the initial literature search, using the SCOPUS and PubMed databases. International studies quantifying medical student attitudes have demonstrated neutral to positive attitudes towards older people, using various instruments. The most commonly used instruments are the Ageing Semantic Differential (ASD) and the University of California Los Angeles Geriatric Attitudes Scale, with several other measures occasionally used. All instruments used to date have inherent weaknesses. A reliable and valid instrument with which to quantify modern medical student attitudes towards older people has not yet been developed. Adaptation of the ASD for contemporary usage is recommended.