Lehigh University Research Wins International Award for Study on Reversing Ageism in Students of Mental Health

Monday, September 12, 2022 - 10:15am

Bethlehem, PA (Sept. 12, 2022) – A published study led by a researcher with Lehigh University has been selected by Mather Institute as a Silver Award recipient of the 2022 Innovative Research on Aging Awards. Now in their 7th year, the awards were created by Mather Institute to inspire evidence-based next practices that can improve the lives of older adults.

As an internationally recognized resource for research and information about wellness, aging, and trends in senior living, Mather Institute invited submissions by researchers from universities and organizations around the world for this year’s awards, which cover a variety of categories from Aging in Place to Technological Advancements for Older Adults, and beyond. Lehigh University was honored in the award category of Senior Living Workforce based on an innovative 2022 study examining ageist attitudes in future providers of mental health services. 

"The Innovative Research on Aging Award honors Lehigh University and Dr. Grace I. L. Caskie for exploring ageist attitudes among mental health trainees and how helping trainees encounter positive examples of successful aging in senior living communities might improve their attitudes,” said Cate O’Brien, PhD, VP and Director, Mather Institute. “These awards honor excellent applied research with practical implications for the senior living industry. We hope these award-winning studies will spark ideas in senior living organizations across the country and around the world.”

For the study, the researchers randomly assigned 488 graduate-level trainees in mental health program to read a vignette about an older adult client in good health or in poor health, and asked them to rate aspects of clinical work regarding the client. Responses revealed health biases as well as aging anxiety and ageist attitudes. 

"The award-winning study conducted by Dr. Caskie and colleagues exemplifies the primary mission of research in Lehigh's College of Education to improve the lives of individuals across the lifespan; in this case, enhancing the mental health of older adults. The findings from this study have important implications for preparation of mental health professionals working with older adults by identifying specific and malleable training targets (e.g., reduction of ageist attitudes, increased opportunities for positive interactions with older adults)” said Dr. George DuPaul associate dean of research for the College of Education. He added, “we look forward to Dr. Caskie's continued efforts to connect research to mental health training and practice that serves the needs of the growing population of older adults in our country.”

A full complimentary report on the Innovative Research on Aging Award recipients, Revealing Research 2022, is available for download at matherinstitute.com. Nominations will open in February for the 2023 Innovative Research on Aging Awards, with a submission deadline in mid-March. 

About Lehigh University

Lehigh University is a top 50 research institution with an entrepreneurial mindset and academic engagement. Lehigh prioritizes international engagement in research, instruction, and service. Every year Lehigh sends students on educational exchanges abroad and welcomes hundreds of international students to campus. We prioritize international projects and are eager to deepen our relationships around the globe.

About Mather

Founded in 1941, Mather is a nondenominational not-for-profit organization based in Evanston, Illinois, that creates Ways to Age Well.SM Mather Institute is its research area of service, and serves as an award-winning resource for research and information about wellness, aging, trends in senior living, and successful aging service innovations. To learn more, find your way to mather.com.