The ongoing workforce shortage in geropsychology requires continued efforts to understand the factors that influence whether or not students choose to enter this field. The current study builds on prior research by replicating the Working with Older Adults Scale (WOAS) model. Further, the scale was expanded to add professional attitudes, adultist concerns, and number of known professionals in the field of aging.
Graduate students in clinical psychology (n = 117) completed the WOAS and new items as part of a larger survey of graduate students in an American Psychological Association-accredited doctoral program. Structural equation modeling was used to first replicate the existing WOAS model and then expanded to include new antecedents in a second model.
Results were largely similar to past research validating the WOAS, with the exception that Perceived Behavioral Control was not a significant predictor of Intention in this population. In the expanded model, new items improved the overall model fit and exhibited significant indirect paths to predict intention to work with older adults.
These findings further validate use of the WOAS and expand scholarly understanding of the factors influencing the choice of a career in aging. Individuals positioned to encourage careers in aging may wish to address adultist concerns, explore attitudes about such careers, challenge unhelpful assumptions, and provide greater exposure and access to mentors in the field as part of recruitment efforts.