Assessment of adult attitudes towards continuing education

Gordon G. Darkenwald, Elisabeth R. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Most definitions of attitude are similar to that proposed by Gagne and Briggs (1974: 62):’An internal state which affects an individual’s choice of action toward some object, person, or event’. Little wonder, then, that the construct of’attitude’ occupies a central place in current theory on participation in continuing (or adult) education (Cross 1981; Darkenwald and Merriam 1982; Houle 1984; Rubenson 1977). Attitudes are deemed important not only in affecting adults’ participation in education, but also in determining their support of continuing education programmes in the community and workplace. Surprisingly, very few attempts have been made to assess adults’ attitudes toward continuing education, despite assertions such as the following by noted scholars:’Every adult has a basic orientation to education, an underlying conviction of its nature and value which influences his or her opinion about and participation in learning’ (Houle 1985: 67). To gain a better understanding of these attitudes and their relationship to behaviour, the first requisite is the development of a valid and reliable means of assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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