Abstract: Integration of Affective and Behavioral Forms of Elder Respect (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

35P Integration of Affective and Behavioral Forms of Elder Respect

Friday, January 15, 2010
* noted as presenting author
Bum Jung Kim, MSW , University of California, Los Angeles, Doctoral Student, Los Angeles, CA
Kyu-taik Sung, PhD , Center for Filial Piety Studies, Director, Seoul, South Korea
Background/Purpose: The issue of respect for the elderly has been gaining increased attention from gerontologists. The growing concern over the treatment of the elderly necessitates a critical review of elder respect among young people. Empirical data on elder respect, however, is extremely limited in the United States and studies of elder respect have dealt with it in an almost invariably abstract form. Hence, elder respect has been a concept too general to provide clear guidance for practice and research. We need to distinguish specific forms of respect that the young accord the elderly and develop categories to describe these forms.

Methods: In order to explore this issue, the present study uses both quantitative and qualitative methodology. In the first phase, the study uses a questionnaire survey to explore the behavioral forms of elder respect that young adults most often practice. A survey was given to a sample comprised of two separate groups of students at universities selected purposively: one group of 261 at a large public university in the Midwest and another group of 260 at a large private university on the West Coast. For the second phase, face-to-face interviews were conducted to obtain narratives, anecdotes, and certain personal experiences explicating how elder respect is practiced in interaction with older adults. The authors conducted interviews with 61 subjects selected at random from the 521 subjects (30 and 31 at the Midwest University and at West Coast University respectively) who responded to the questionnaire (2-3 students from each classroom).

Results: Based on quantitative data from a survey of 521 college students, a set of 11 behavioral forms of elder respect was obtained. Out of these forms, the following six were identified as the most frequently practiced: 1) acquiescent respect; 2) care respect; 3) linguistic respect; 4) salutatory respect; 5) consulting respect; 6) presentational respect. Additionally, results of the interviews were summarized into two components: 1) narratives and anecdotes involving how the six forms of elder respect were practiced in the subjects' interaction with older adults, and 2) three influential factors central to develop elder respecting behavior (parents, grandparents, and other relatives).

Conclusions/Implications: This study specifies the various forms of elder respect that younger adults most often practiced and considered important, based on quantitative data that were not made available by previous studies. The set of the forms provides a tool with which we can discuss elder respect in a concrete and systematic way. Furthermore, the set will be useful in developing a more comprehensive typology of such behavioral forms that might be used to assess the quality of eldercare and the moral aspect of intergenerational relationships. Finally, the data from the narratives and verbatim data collected through interviews provide insight into the younger adults' perspectives on elder respect.