Hong Kong is facing various challenges of ageing population, one of which being the widening of the generation gap. It is believed that the young and old generations are distancing from each other due to different factors, especially the change in the family living arrangement. The widening of the generation gap may lead to crisis in intergenerational solidarity, which is imperative for the psychological well-being and social development of both generations.
According to Allport’s Contact Theory (1954), prejudice among members of different groups can be reduced through interpersonal contact under optimal conditions: 1) equal group status, 2) common goals, 3) intergroup cooperation, 4) opportunities for friendship, and 5) institutional support. Given frequent opportunity to communicate with members of other groups on equal and non-competitive grounds, and to complete a shared task under the support of an authority, individuals are able to understand and appreciate each other leading to reduction in prejudice. In this regard, reading book or watching video are not enough to facilitate such intergenerational solidarity. Regular intergroup contact between older and younger generation is necessary.
In our attempt to foster intergenerational solidarity and to increase intergenerational interaction in the local community, Sau Po Center on Ageing (CoA) of the University of Hong Kong has purposefully implemented several intergenerational programmes with the cooperation of our community partner.
Dr. Vivian Lou
Sau Po Centre on Ageing, The University of Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3917 4835
Fax: (852) 2540 1244