Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Julia A. Malia

Committee Members

Michael Lane Morris, Priscilla Blanton, Jack Pursley


Even though the numbers and scope of intergenerational programs continue to grow, research about their impact is limited. The purpose of this study was to compare 12 behaviors of older adults in the presence of absence of children. Six adults with dementia, aged 57 to 86, were videotaped during 10 art activities, 5 with preschool children and 5 with peer adults. The design was a quasi-experimental applied behavioral analysis. Chi-square tests showed that the older adults' behaviors were significantly dependent on children's presence or absence. Repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that children's presence or absence had a significant effect on the older adults's behaviors. Discriminant analyses identified looking and touching as behaviors that best characterized activities with children present or absent. The results of this intergenerational research project support further growth and development in programming and multidisciplinary collaborations that will, in turn, benefit older and younger generations.

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