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Children's Attitudes Toward the Elderly in Thailand and the United States

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Children's attitudes toward the elderly in Thailand and the United States were examined. A total of 300 children between the ages of 7 and 12, 150 from the urban areas of Thailand and 150 from a middle class area in the United States were randomly selected to serve as the sample. The test, Children's Attitudes Toward the Elderly (1980), the Word association and Semantic Differential subtests, were used to assess attitudes. Chi square and ANOVA statistics were used to analyze the data. The results indicated no significant differences in reported knowledge of elders within the family, nor reported interactions with elders. More Thai children, however, reported knowledge of an elder outside of the family than children in the United States. Thai children also felt more negatively about growing old themselves. Young people were rated more positively by the Thais than by children in the United States. The young were rated as more helpful, cleaner, prettier and good by Thais than by Americans. Thay children viewed old people as healthier and more good than children in America, and Americans rated old people as more wonderful and friendly than Thais. Although the results should be viewed with caution, as in any cross cultural research, the conclusion can be reached that Thai children view young people more positively than American, and there were few differences between the groups' ratings of old people.


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