A Quiet Friday Night: Understanding What is Socially Acceptable for the Friday Night of Older Adults

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The researcher explored the social acceptability for going out on a Friday night, in the eyes of college students, for a college-aged person and an older adult. This particular area of research is growing in importance, because the older adult population is rapidly increasing in size. As a society, the way older adults are viewed needs to be changed, because they are staying active and healthy longer than in the past. This means that they are more active later into life than in previous decades. I investigated how this change is affecting the perception of older adults’ social lives for college students. My hypothesis was that participants would say a college-aged person would be expected to go out on a Friday night, whereas an older adult would be expected to stay at home. The study was conducted online through eSurveyspro. The participants read a passage about a Friday night of either a college-aged person or an older adult, where the person stayed home. Following the passage, the participants were asked social acceptability questions about the fact that the person in the passage decided not to go do something social outside of the house. The results from the two conditions were analyzed using a One-way ANOVA. The analysis revealed non-significant results, and so the hypothesis that behaviors related to actively socializing would be different for the younger or older adults was not supported. In conclusion, social acceptability is similar for the Friday night of an older adult and a college-aged person. Limitations of the study and implications for aging research are discussed.
Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program.
Honors thesis, Gerontology, Psychology, Behavioral analysis