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Monday, November 12, 2012

Roots of Ageism

Exploring the Roots of Intergenerational Ageism[i]

         I recently came across a research article (cited below) that can be very useful to ICAL: Intergenerational Centre for Action Learning.
[Go to].  In this coming year our non-profit company, bc-communitybuilding [go] will begin a project using artistic activities to strengthen intergenerational relations and hopefully take another step in combating ageism. 
         The material in this blog entry is gathered from the article cited below. It is becoming increasingly clear that we must now increase our anti-ageism campaign.  The population is aging and we are continuing to struggle with an economic downturn (recession? depression?)
         The authors, after an extensive journal search tell us that  “Whatever the reason, age-based prejudice remains drastically under investigated, despite the salience of age in interpersonal judgments.”   Those who hold stereotypes, including ageism, go on to create “…pernicious short- and long-term consequences.”  These consequences can be subtle and complex.
         For instance the consequences are found in medicine where schools underemphasize geriatrics leading to medical mistreatment. In employment where “…evidence indicates that older applicants are rated less positively than younger ones, even when they are similarly qualified.”  And this is just some of the areas.
         Ageism can be very subtle and not hostile for instance “… well-meaning people unwittingly speak to older people using benevolent yet patronizing baby talk and demeaning, exaggeratedly slow and loud over accommodation.”
         As a consequence of ageism many seniors “…internalize negative stereotypes becoming more forgetful, sickly, and depressed, simply because they anticipate adopting such characteristics in their later life.”
         The authors go on to explore some theories used to explain ageism. I suggest that you go to the original article and explore them. If you have access you can find it on Psych Info or the author’s email address cited below.
         Here are just some of the additional topics discussed:
·  Benevolent Prejudices
·  Empirical Bases for Intergenerational Pessimism
·  Elder Optimism
·  Age Specific interests
·  Ensuring Successful Intergenerational contact
·  Cross-Cultural Explorations
·  Ageism against the young

[i] North, Michael S. &  Fiske, Susan, T., Intergenerational Ageism and it’s potential intergenerational roots. Psychological Bulletin, 19391455,             20120901, Vol, 138, Issue 5.  Correspondence for article should be directed to: Michael S. North. Princeton University, Dept of Psych, Green Hall, Princeton Email:


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