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Senior Center Staff Perceptions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults: A Research Proposal

Branca, Kelsey (2013) Senior Center Staff Perceptions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults: A Research Proposal. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults are a unique and vulnerable population who are largely overlooked by the gerontological literature and by aging service providers. As the number of older adults in the United States continues to grow so does the LGBT older adult population, which is expected to double from approximately three million to six million by 2030. The literature highlights disparities in physical and mental health, socioeconomic status, and social support among LGBT older adults. Aging services providers are undoubtedly unprepared to serve this population; there is little training or education on sexual minority seniors. Most aging service providers assume their clients are heterosexual, and LGBT older adults are reluctant to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity due to lifetime experiences with discrimination and internalized stigma. This mistrust of providers leads to delayed care and nonparticipation in services for older adults, which directly contributes to disparities. This research proposal aims to address these issues in Allegheny County by assessing staff at the fifty-five senior centers contracted with the Area Agency on Aging. The proposed research is relevant to the field of public health because it seeks to address the lack of culturally competent providers who serve LGBT older adults, which is specifically mentioned in Healthy People 2020. Using a mixed methods approach, the proposed study will examine 1) policies of senior centers in Allegheny County that seek to address the needs of LGBT seniors, 2) staff attitudes towards and perceptions of LGBT older adults, and 3) differences in perceptions and experiences between executive staff and direct service staff. First, senior center staff will participate in focus groups to determine community norms and attitudes. Next, a survey will be administered electronically to senior center staff through email. These data will be analyzed and will help inform future senior programming at senior centers in Allegheny County. While the sampling frame is somewhat limited and results from this convenience sample will not be generalizable, this study hopes to identify areas for future research and identify training needs within the senior center network.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Branca, Kelseykeb113@pitt.eduKEB113
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStall, Ronrstall@pitt.eduRSTALL
Committee MemberMarkovic, Ninaninam@pitt.eduNINAM
Committee MemberFriedman, Markmsf11@pitt.eduMSF11
Date: 28 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 April 2013
Approval Date: 28 June 2013
Submission Date: 2 May 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, sexual minority, older adults, seniors, geriatrics, aging
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2013 13:02
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:12


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