Differential characteristics of clinical psychologists treating younger and older clients

Dov Shmotkin*, Nitza Eyal, Jacob Lomranz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study sought to differentiate between psychologists working with clients who are in either the fist or second half of life, focusing on various personal and psychological characteristics whose role remained equivocal. Two groups were delineated from an initial sample of 190 Israeli clinical psychologists. The first group (N = 46) worked with children and/or adolescents, and the second (N = 29), with mid-life and/or elderly adults, with both optionally working with young adults. In terms of personal variables, the group treating older clients was found to be older, to contain a greater proportion of women, and to have longer professional experience, but showed no significant difference in marital status; in regard to the psychological variables, this group was found to have higher subjective age and lower death concern, but revealed no significant differences in the evaluations of father and mother. In a stepwise discriminant analysis, only age, gender and death concern entered the equation. The results suggest that psychologists' actual engagement in work with clients in earlier or later phases of life involves certain predispositions, possibly facilitating the approach to the target populations. Further research is still required in order to delineate the implications of the differential characteristics for the matching of clients of different ages and individual psychologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 14 May 1993


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