Samantha Marie Hague, Psy.D., is a 2017 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Roger Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP, Committee Chair
  • Gina Pasquale, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • Amanda Hitchings, Psy.D., Committee Member


geropsychology, grandparent relationships, older adults, elderly

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As the population of older adults continues to grow with time, the need for geropsychology clinicians also grows. Many barriers exist that contribute to why elderly individuals are not receiving adequate psychological treatment. This study explores why graduate psychology students are often disinterested in working with older adults and whether it is possible that student interest could increase with more geropsychology graduate coursework and practicum training opportunities. This study also explores the possible connection between quality of elderly relationships and interest in working with the elderly. The results of this study support that Clinical and Counseling Psychology graduate programs lack quality education for providing mental health services to the older adult population. This general lack of education includes the lacking availability of geropsychology courses, integration of the older adult population in academic courses, training in the assessment, diagnosis, and provision of psychotherapy for older adults, as well as building awareness of attitudes, responses, and biases toward this population. The results of this study also support that graduate programs lack the availability of practicum placements that allow students to work with the older adult population. Participants rated the age group of 65-years-old and beyond as least preferred and a majority felt “minimally competent” to provide psychological treatment to older adults, yet 31% of participants responded that they will likely work with older adults in the future. Correlational analyses showed that the likelihood of graduate students to work with older adults in the future increases as the quality of their clinical training for older adult service provision increases. Also, as the quality of education for older adult service provision increases, the quality of clinical training with older adults increases. No significant correlations were found between emotional closeness to an older adult and likelihood to work with older adults in the future, but many findings in this study support the idea that there exists some impact of experiences with older adults on interest and disinterest in clinical work with this population. Lastly, many reasons for interest and disinterest in working with the older adult population were found in this study


Samantha Marie Hague

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0003-4717-2689