Do physiotherapy students demonstrate ageist attitude? a scoping review of literature

Michael E. Kalu*, Ukachukwu O. Abaraogu, Kathleen E. Norman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To describe attitudes of physiotherapy students toward older adults and their interest in working with them; and to identify factors that may influence physiotherapy students' attitude, knowledge and beliefs toward older adults or interest in working with them. Methods: We used the five-step scoping review approach described by Arksey and O'Malley (2005). We obtained studies published or in press between 2000 and 2016 of attitudes of physiotherapy students towards older adults either alone or among other groups. We excluded qualitative studies, opinion papers and articles focused on determining the psychometric properties of questionnaires. Two independent coders identify the major themes in the included studies. Results: Fourteen studies met criteria and were reviewed in detail. All reported that physiotherapy students have positive attitude towards older adults. Only four studies reported physiotherapy students' interest in working with older adults, of which three reported low interest and one reported moderate interest. Contact with older adults before entering physiotherapy education was the only factor that showed a consistently positive influence on attitudes toward older adults. Conclusions: Physiotherapy students do not demonstrate ageist attitude but have low interest in working with older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-89
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • attitude
  • beliefs
  • knowledge
  • older adults
  • perception
  • physiotherapy student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Gerontology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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