Background: Many studies have been performed on the use of intergenerational programs to improve the negative attitudes and misunderstandings of adolescents toward older people with dementia. However, the findings of these studies are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to compare the long-term effects of exergaming (Kinect) and companionship programs on attitudes toward dementia and the elderly among adolescents. Methods: A quasi-experimental longitudinal design was used. A total of 200 adolescents aged 12–18 years old were recruited from nine schools in northern Taiwan. The adolescents were assigned to five different groups, namely, a 5-week exergaming group, a 5-week companion group, an 8-week exergaming group, an 8-week companion group, and a control group, using a single blinding procedure. Data collection was performed pretest, post-test and at 1, 3 and 6 months after the post-test. The long-term effects of the two programs (i.e., exergaming and companionship) were analyzed using a generalized estimating equation. Results: Regarding attitudes toward dementia, the 8-week exergaming group had a significantly better attitude than the control group at the 6-month follow-up (p < 0.001). Similarly, the results of the 8-week companion group also showed a significantly improved attitude compared with the control group at the 6-month follow-up (p = 0.041). Regarding attitudes toward the elderly, the 8-week exergaming group had a significantly better attitude than the control group at the 6-month follow-up (p < 0.001). The 8-week companion group had a similar effect on better attitude compared with the control group at the 6-month follow-up (p = 0.016). Furthermore, the 5-week companion group showed a significant improvement compared with the control group at the 6-month follow-up (p = 0.004). Conclusions: Spending companionship time with older adults is beneficial for improving the attitudes of adolescents toward the elderly. Furthermore, exergaming improves the attitudes of adolescents toward both dementia and older adults. Trial registration: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR2100053003. Retrospectively registered on 07/11/2021.
- Intergenerational programs
- Older adult