Stereotypes of older adults: does status make a difference?

Helmes, E. (2009) Stereotypes of older adults: does status make a difference? In: The Abstracts of the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society. p. 103. From: 44th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, 30 September - 4 October 2009 , Darwin, NT, Australia.

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Stereotypes of older adults remain common In practice, and older workers are a frequent target of both subtle and open discrimination. Older workers are the most frequent targets for redundancy during economic downturns for organizations, regardless of their actual work performance. Stereotypes of older adults can be quite complex, and positive stereotypes do exist, such as the one of warm and kindly grandmothers. However, negative stereotypes predominate. One issue that has not been studied in any detail is whether people hold different attitudes towards older workers of different social status. Here two established and validated scales of attitudes towards older workers were used to determine if university undergraduates hold different attitudes towards older professionals than older workers in general. A total of 107 university undergraduates (38 males, mean age 24.9 years) participated, completing both scales of attitudes towards older adults in general and again in counterbalanced order for older professionals. Judges, physicians, and lawyers were provided as some examples of high status status professional workers. Scores on the multiple-choice version of the Facts on Aging Questionnaire were used as a covariate of knowledge about older adults. Measures used were the Hassell-Perrewe version of the Kirchner scale and the three subscales of the Fraboni Scale of Ageism. Data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of covariance with repeated measures for the priming instruction. Results showed a significant effect for the covariate for three of the four measures used. One measure showed a significant difference for the priming effect for older workers versus older professionals. Significant effects were also obtained for two scales for the effect for the order of administration and two others showed a significant interaction effect between order of scale administration and priming instruction. The results have implications for the measurement of attitudes towards older adults in that differences in sensitivity to the priming instruction were evident between the two scales that were used. Future research could examine other measures in the literature and also explore attitudes in different populations, particularly those involving corporate managers who need to make decisions about hiring or retention of older workers.

Item ID: 7938
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISSN: 978-0-909881-40-5
Keywords: stereotypes; ageing; status; class; attitudes
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Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2010 22:49
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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