Zeitschrift für Pharmazie und pharmazeutische Forschung Offener Zugang


Ageism in Healthcare and Non-Healthcare Groups of Students toward Older Adults before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sofija Sesto1, Marina Odalovic1*, Daniela Fialova2,3, Martin Henman4, Valentina Marinkovic1, Ivana Tadic1

Title: Ageism is a process of systematic stereotyping, prejudicial attitudes, and direct or indirect discrimination against people because they are old. Ageism affected people of all ages, especially older people. Older people were the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to social isolation, loneliness, and a higher chance of developing various diseases, such as anxiety or depression.

Background: There is evidence in the literature that ageism has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily through the media. However, insufficient research has been done on assessing ageism in the student population, and in the Republic of Serbia, such research has not been done at all. Based on this, this study aimed to examine the level of ageism toward older adults among Health Care (HC) and non-Healthcare (non-HSC) students, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, using the Fraboni Scale of Ageism (FSA). In addition, the study tested predictors for a higher level of ageism.

Methods and findings: The cross-sectional study was conducted in May 2020 and included students from four universities in the Republic of Serbia. FSA total score was calculated according to the scoring algorithm. Univariate and multivariate logistical regression models identified factors associated with a higher level of ageism. In total, 505 university students participated in the study. All students mean values of FSA scores were 62.47 before the pandemic and 64.33 during the pandemic.

Conclusion: During the pandemic, ageism was higher in both groups of HCS and non-HCS students compared to the period before the pandemic. The only predictor associated with the high level of ageism was the non-provision of help to older people before/during the pandemic.