Roger Reed

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Robert T. Wagner


The main objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the extent to which persons who are fifty through sixty- nine years of age anticipate participating in educational activities; (2) to determine how the conditions under which educational activities are offered would effect [sic] the anticipated participation of the elderly, and (3) to ascertain what factors explain anticipated participation in educational activities of the elderly. The units of analysis were individuals who were at least fifty years of age but no more than seventy years of age on t heir last birthday and who had permanent residence within thirty-five miles of Dakota State College. A variety of socioeconomic, systemic, and attitudinal variables were us-ed to measure educational roles, continuity maintenance and anticipated participation in educational activities. In order to determine to what extent respondents anticipate taking educational offerings, the data were aggregated by summing the responses from a Likert scale pertaining to specific courses. It was found that fifteen percent of the respondents would definitely take a class in the future. To ascertain what courses were of most interest to the elderly the responses to each course were tabulated. It was found that seven courses were selected most frequently and the course selection reflected their social status as an older person. The conditions under which the respondent would take course offerings were examined by tabulating the responses to several statements regarding institutional conditions of offering a course on a college campus. Generally, the respondents were not looking for special course offerings, given in special places and under differing conditions than the usual college setting. To ascertain what specific factors explain anticipated participation in educational activities of the elderly, eighteen independent variables were placed in a multiple regression formula with the dependent variable. The results of this investigation found that those respondents who would most anticipated participating in course offerings were characterized by: (1) greater motivation to participate in educational activities; (2) greater participation in educational leisure time activities that are of a sporting nature; (3) greater perception of education as a life-long process; (4) greater organizational participation; (5) greater perception of education as desirable; (6) greater participation in educational leisure time activities; and (7) greater distance of residence from Dakota State College. Several general conclusions were made from the findings of the study: 1. A large market for educational offerings by Dakota State College to the elderly does not exist when compared to the traditional student population. 2. The elderly who are interested in taking courses are more likely to take courses that relate to their social stat us as pre- retired or retired person. 3. Five institutional conditions under which courses would be offered created some concern for the elderly. They are: (a) courses offered for a full semester, (b) courses offered in the Winter or (c) Summer, (d) the cost of the course and (e) courses offered on campus. 4. The academic division at Dakota State College best suited to deliver courses for the elderly is Health and Physical Education because this is the division where the elderly selected most of the courses they would take. 5. Elderly per sons who currently participate in informal educational and sporting activities will also tend to take courses. 6. The theoretical model using role theory and continuity theory was supported in that seven of the eighteen independent variables explained about sixty- five percent of the variation in the dependent variable.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dakota State University
Older people -- Education
Older people -- Education -- South Dakota




South Dakota State University