Motivation to Participate in Intergenerational Programs: A Comparison across Different Program Types and Generations

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Much research has attested to the benefits of intergenerational programs (IGPs) for older and younger participants, but there is a lack of understanding about what motivates them to participate and to persevere. We conducted structured interviews with 83 older (mean age = 77) and 96 younger (mean age = 23) participants who participated in 13 IGPs in Israel, some involving specific topics, and some providing assistance to older adults. Using a mixed-methods approach, we analyzed differences in motivation across generations and program types and compared initial and ongoing motivation to participate. We found differences regarding motivation by age group and program type: Among older participants, interest in the specific subject was a more prevalent motivation in topic-focused groups, while receiving support was more common in assistance groups. Among young persons, motivations relating to obligation, such as receipt of a financial scholarship, and the wish to help others were the most prevalent motivators. Ongoing motivation was often explained by positive intergenerational relationships and enjoyment. For older adults, offering more diverse topic-focused activities may motivate greater participation. For young adults, integrating IGPs within more and different settings, and promoting IGPs as opportunities to help others are potential motivators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3554
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Senior Citizens in Israel
Minerva Foundation


    • Community-based programs
    • Intergenerational program evaluation
    • Intergenerational programs
    • Intergenerational relations
    • Motivation
    • Older adults
    • Young adults


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