Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

First Adviser

Caskie, Grace

Other advisers/committee members

Spokane, Arnold; DeBlaere, Cirleen; Kline, Ronald


As the older adult population in the United States begins to grow, the increasing need for psychologists specializing in geropsychology may put strains on the mental health care system. The current study examines contact with older adults, universal diverse orientation, empathy, and multicultural competence as predictors of attitudes toward older adults and in interest in working with this population in a national sample of graduate students in counseling (N = 266). A modified version of the proposed model, which added a correlated residual between empathic concern and personal distress, showed acceptable fit to the data. Results suggest that contact with older adults was a strong predictor of attitudes about older adults and interest in working with this population, while exploratory paths for UDO, empathy, and multicultural competence were non-significant. Results suggest the need for graduate programs to increase contact experiences available for students in order to increase positive attitudes and interest in working with seniors.