Many theories of aging have been proposed within the field of gerontology to explain both psychological and social changes that occur during the aging process. One of the theories is the theory of gerotranscendence, which explains that as individuals age they develop a new perspective on life that allows the aging individual to shift their conceptualization of the world, from a materialistic and rational view to a more transcendent and universal view. Previous research suggests that some behaviors associated with gerotranscendence have been misinterpreted as pathological. The purpose of this current study was to examine whether there are significant differences in the perceptions of gerotranscendence between younger adults working as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and older adults who live in long-term care facilities. A total of 81 participants (i.e., 40 CNAs and 41 older adults) were recruited and given a set of three vignettes and a short story questionnaire. Each of the vignettes included behaviors indicative of gerotranscendence and described the life of an elderly gentlemen living in an assisted living facility. After reading each story, participants were asked to rate each of these behaviors in terms of how unusual, similar, or concerning they were. Across the three dimensions of gerotranscendence that were measured, significant age differences were found on only one subscale (i.e., older adults found behaviors on the self-dimension less unusual compared to the CNA sample). Therefore, the results of this study were inconsistent with those from previous studies, and do not support the hypotheses that there are significant differences between how older adults and CNAs perceive the behaviors associated with gerotranscendence.


Jeffrey Buchanan

Committee Member

Donald Ebel

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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