Are attitudes toward older workers different from general attitudes toward older people?

Helmes, E., and Campbell, A. (2008) Are attitudes toward older workers different from general attitudes toward older people? Australasian Journal on Ageing, 27 (Supp 1). p. 15.

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Abstract

Background: Research over several decades has shown that attitudes toward older adults are negative. Attitude measurement clearly depends upon the method and measures that are used, as such attitudes are likely sensitive to demand characteristics and influences such as social desirability. Administration formats other than the traditional paper-and- pencil method may therefore be more likely to show different results. Attitudes toward older adults in general have been more commonly explored than attitudes toward older workers. Here we contrast differences in expressed attitudes between the conventional paper-and-pencil format and the more confidential format of internet-based administration to evaluate whether attitudes toward older workers are more or less sensitive to the differences in administration format.

Methods: Four scales used to assess attitudes toward older workers were administered together with an attitude scale for older adults in general that gives two scores to 60 university undergraduates (68% female, mean age 24.3 years, SD=8.51) who responded using both paper-and-pencil format and an internet-based format. The administrations were approximately 4 days apart in counter-balanced order. Standard effect sizes were calculated using the pooled variance estimate for each measure to determine if effects were different for attitudes toward older workers than for adults in general.

Results: Four scales, three for attitudes toward older workers and one for older adults in general, showed significant differences across the response formats, with more negative attitudes expressed with the internet-based format in all cases. Effect sizes for the scales of attitudes toward older workers were more than twice as large as those for attitudes toward older adults in general.

Conclusions: The difference in format implied greater confidentiality of attitudes in the internet-based that allowed more negative attitudes to be expressed. Attitudes toward older workers appear more negative than attitudes toward older adults in general.

Item ID: 25560
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1741-6612
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2013 06:48
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment @ 34%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 33%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 33%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940501 Employment Patterns and Change @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940103 Ageing and Older People @ 50%
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