We conducted a program evaluation study of “Young at Heart,” a Texas (United States) program that places elderly volunteers in childcare settings. The main constructs evaluated in this research-based article are Erikson’s generativity (a motivation to guide younger generations) and life satisfaction. We compared four groups of elderly persons on these constructs: Young at Heart volunteers, Meals on Wheels volunteers (who deliver food to other elderly persons and thus gain volunteer experience, but not with children), non-volunteers Drawn from the general population of one Texas community, and individuals in the same community who volunteered in a variety of activities (“miscellaneous volunteers”). Our guiding assumption was that volunteering with children would appear to be a clear expression of generativity; we thus hypothesized that YAH volunteers would score highest in it. Contrary to prediction, the miscellaneous volunteers averaged the highest generativity, followed by YAH volunteers. Philosophical and conceptual issues are identified with regard to research on generativity and intergenerational programming.
- Intergenerational programming
- Program evaluation