In the eye of the beholder: The impact of intergenerational programs from the perspectives of their different stakeholders

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since most evaluations of intergenerational programs (IGPs) focus on the perspective of a single stakeholder group concerning the benefit for themselves, we compared perceptions of multiple stakeholders: older adults, younger adults, and IGP organizers concerning the impact of IGPs on older and young participants. Using a mixed-methods approach, we collected data from thirteen community-based IGPs. The quantitative analyses included a comparison of the different stakeholder groups via ANOVAs and chi-square analyses. In order to identify the reasons for different attribution ratings among stakeholders, we conducted a qualitative analysis of the stakeholders’ comments and responses to open-ended questions using a thematic analysis approach. Overall, participants rated benefits to themselves lower than attributed to them by their counterparts. Differences in ratings may be explained by differences in expectations and needs, cognitive dissonance, as well as a lack of awareness about other participants’ experiences. Given the discrepancies in perception of impact, it is vital to seek input from all stakeholders in order to understand their respective needs and expectations, construct a balanced evaluation, and improve IGP processes and outcomes. Studying a single stakeholder group for project evaluation is likely to provide only one perspective, whereas including all points of view provides a more complete picture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11916
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Senior Citizens in Israel
Minerva Foundation


    • Intergenerational programs
    • Older adults
    • Social contacts
    • Stereotyping and bias


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