Older Psychologists Survey

In 1993, the Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP) of the American Psychological Association (APA) proposed a new initiative to focus on older women within the profession of psychology and within society. This grew out of the committee’s concern that the U.S. population is aging and that the majority of older people are women. There was also concern that current research and practice may not adequately address this important area.

In 1994, the committee further defined two purposes of the initiative:

  1. To identify the needs of older women psychologists.

  2. To assess how older women and aging are treated in psychological theory, research, training, and practice.

To address the first issue, that is, to identify the needs of older women psychologists, CWP conducted the Older Psychologists Survey. The Committee designed the survey to answer a number of questions:

  • How are older women faring in the profession compared with older men?

  • What kinds of issues do women psychologists face as they age?

  • What, if any, kinds of bias and discrimination are particularly associated with the combination of age and gender?

In addition, CWP was interested in older women psychologists’ daily living arrangements, financial situations, work, retirement, overall life satisfaction, and specific aging issues, such as physical changes, health, and the individual’s feeling of control over life’s inevitable demands. Finally, by focusing on a sample of older psychologists, this study attempts to make a contribution to the literature on women and aging.

Please see the  Older Psychologists Survey for the final report.

This study was to be only the first part of the Committee on Women in Psychology's Older Women's Initiative. However, in 1996, the APA created the Committee on Aging, whose mission includes furthering the major purpose of APA by ensuring that older adults, especially the growing numbers of older women and minorities, receive the attention of the association. In order to not duplicate issues (included in CWP’s Older Women’s Initiative) that overlap with CONA’s charge, CWP decided to sunset the OWI with the completion of this survey.

Copyright 1999 by the American Psychological Association. This publication may be reproduced and distributed without permission, so long as acknowledgment is given to the American Psychological Association.