Double Jeopardy: The Ageing LGBT Population in Social Work Education


  • David Betts University of Canterbury
  • Jane Maidment University of Canterbury
  • Nikki Evans University of Canterbury


Ageing, LGBT, Social work education, Pedogogy


This article reviews the literature on the extent to which social work education prepares students to work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) people and ageing individuals. This review is important because an ageing population will result in more social workers engaging with this demographic. To conduct this review we assess a combination of research and commentaries that discuss perceived gaps in social work education. The fields reviewed include social work education, ageing, LGBT populations, and the intersection of age and sexuality. The main findings show that social work education is lacking in curriculum content and in challenging student and educator perceptions relating to ageing and LGBT populations, and that students and educators are open to change and development in the right circumstances. There are limitations in the use of selected material, primarily due to a limited range of contexts in which gerontological evaluations of social work education have taken place, and a tendency to treat the LGBT community as a single, homogenous group. However, these findings are still significant as social work students arguably need to be competent in, and knowledgeable about, working with this growing demographic. In conclusion we discuss, using a critical pedagogical approach, recommendations for addressing perceived limitations discovered in social work education.


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