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Title: The Complement of Research and Theory in Practice: Contact Theory at Work in Nonfamilial Intergenerational Programs

Author (s):  Shannon Jarrott, Cynthia Smith

AbstractPurpose of the Study: Researchers assessed whether a shared site intergenerational care program informed by contact theory contributed to more desirable social behaviors of elders and children during intergenerational programming than a center with a more traditional programming approach that lacks some or all of the contact theory tenets.  Design and Methods: Researchers observed 59 elder and child participants from the two sites during intergenerational activities.  Using the Intergenerational Observation Scale, researchers coded participants’ predominant behavior in 15-s intervals through each activity’s duration.  Researchers then calculated for each individual the percentage of time frames each behavior code was predominant.  Results: Participants at the theory-based program demonstrated higher rates of intergenerational interaction, higher rates of solitary behavior, and lower rates of watching than at the traditional program.  Implications: Contact theory tenets were optimized when coupled with evidence-based practices.  Intergenerational programs with stakeholder support that promotes equal group status, cooperation toward a common goal, and mechanisms of friendship among participants can achieve important objectives for elder and child participants in care settings.

Category: Research

Keywords: Adult day services, Evidence-based practice, Behavior, Observation, Programming, shared site, contact theory

Reference: Jarrott, S. E. and Smith, C. L. (2010). The Complement of Research and Theory in Practice: Contact Theory at Work in Nonfamilial Intergenerational Programs. The Gerontologist , 51(1): 112–21.

Peer-reviewed journal: yes

Link to Full Texthttp://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/07/24/geront.gnq058.abstract


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