Date of Conferral





Public Health


John Nemecek


Medical ageism in the United States affects senior citizens' activities of daily living (ADL) and the quality of their medical care. Medical ageism refers to discrimination against, abuse of, stereotyping of, contempt for, and avoidance of older people. Nurses who take care of the elderly are responsible for ensuring that older patients are treated fairly and in a timely manner, so it is important to know whether or not nurses have any bias regarding the elderly. The research questions addressed in this quantitative study explored whether or not there were differences in nurses' perceptions of ageism as moderated by the nurses' own gender, ethnicity, age, or years of experience. This study used a researcher-developed demographic survey and the Age Based Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ-Age). The theoretical framework for this study included the theory of emotional labor. A quantitative, causal-comparative design was used to test the hypotheses. Sixty one nurses were purposively sampled via snowballing sampling. Analysis of variance was used to determine mean differences in ageism between the specified independent variables. Findings from this study revealed that caregivers with less than, or equal to, 5 years of nursing experience had significantly lower ageism scores than nurses with more than 5 years of experience. Gender, ethnicity, or age did not significantly affect ageism scores. This study may contribute to social change by determining how nurses can recognize their own potential fallibilities in the field of gerontology, thereby having the potential to promote positive health outcomes for the elderly.