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Fernandez-Ballesteros R.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Caprara M.,Madrid Open University | Schettini R.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Bustillos A.,The Spanish Open University | And 8 more authors.
Educational Gerontology | Year: 2013

University Programs for Older Adults (Programas Universitarios para Adultos Mayores or PUMAs) have been developed throughout the world as an outcome of two worldwide policies: Life Long Learning (LLL) and Active Aging as a priority direction (UN, 2002). According to these policies, older persons should become full participants in the development process of a society, sharing in its benefits, while policies and actions should promote a positive view of aging. The present paper sets out to report some of the results from the evaluation of four PUMAs offered in 2009-2010 at four Universities: Autónoma University of Madrid (Spain), Autónoma University of Mexico (Mexico), Catholic University (Chile), and La Habana University (Cuba). With this purpose, a study with quasiexperimental design and nonequivalent control group was carried out. In total, 313 students (75% women, age range 50-87) on these four PUMAs and 190 controls (77% female, age range 50-91) participated in this evaluation study. Pre- and postexperimental and control comparisons results yielded significant differences in the expected direction: those people attending PUMAs significantly improved their self-perception of aging and group stereotypes, as well as significantly reduced their negative affect, and improving their emotional balance. At the same time, their perception of cultural age stereotypes became more negative. The results are discussed from the point of view of the II International Plan of Action on Aging objectives: the reduction of negative stereotypes and the promotion of the role of PUMAs in active aging. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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