Attitudes and perceptions concerning elderly Samoans in rural Western Samoa, American Samoa, and urban Honolulu

J. D. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Samoan cultural values place a high emphasis on respect and obedience toward elders. However, modernization and migration have caused changes in traditional social structure, social organization, household composition, economic opportunities, and health care systems. This article reports results from interviews on attitudes and perceptions of the elderly administered to 137 young adults (aged 18-37) and 106 older adults (aged 41-82) in rural Western Samoa, modernizing American Samoa, and Samoan migrants in urban Honolulu. The results indicate there are significant signs of both change and stability in the status of elderly Samoans. Over 75% of Samoans report that the elderly are respected, obeyed, and consulted on important decisions. However, Samoans in American Samoa and Honolulu report that the status of the elderly has declined over the past ten years. Older Samoans in Honolulu emphasize the maintenance of traditional norms rather than changes in the behavior toward the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

Keywords

  • Polynesia
  • Samoa
  • aging
  • cross-cultural
  • migration
  • modernization
  • status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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