Ageism is the assumption that a
person's age should determine their social status and their roles in society. Ageism
usually refers to stereotyping and devaluation of seniors.
The NHS has been accused of ageism
frequently and from many fronts. Previous studies have shown that the number of critical
care beds in the UK is inadequate to meet the needs of the population.
The Ageism Survey - First Findings
Purpose: To develop an instrument
that can be used to answer three questions:
What is the prevalence of ageism
in various societies?
Which types of ageism are more
Which subgroups of older people
report more ageism?
Methods: A survey instrument was
developed listing 20 types of ageism. This instrument was tested on a convenience sample
of 84 persons older than age 60.
Results: The instrument appears to
have satisfactory reliability and validity. The survey found that the experience of ageism
was widespread and frequent among these respondents. The majority reported several
incidents of ageism and over half of the incidents were reported to have occurred
"more than once." The most frequent types were persons showing disrespect for
older people, followed by persons showing assumptions about ailments or frailty caused by
age. Implications: Researchers now have a reliable and valid instrument for measuring the
prevalence of ageism in various societies and of various types of ageism experienced by
various groups of older persons. This may aid in reducing the prevalence of ageism in our
society. - Erdman Palmore, PhD, Duke Center for the Study of Aging, Decision Editor:
Laurence G. Branch, PhD
Ageism or Healthism? -
Perceptions Based on Age and Health Status
William L. Gekoski, PhD, V. Jane Knox, PhD, Queen's University
Despite what appears to be ageist behavior in our society, there is little research
evidence indicating that the elderly are perceived negatively. The reason for this
discrepancy may be that it is not age itself but characteristics that covary with age
(such as poor health) that are seen negatively.
Dispelling Ageism: The Cross-Cutting Intervention - ROBERT N.
This article challenges all of uspolicymakers, practitioners, scientists, members of
the medical profession, the public at largeto intervene in the most basic of all
problems of old age: "ageism," a term the coinage of which I lay claim to. In
concluding this special issue of The Annals on interventions designed to enhance the
quality of aging, I begin with a history of ageism as a disease. I specify many of its
manifestations, which still linger today despite years of effort to dispel the false
stereotypes and myths about older people. Concerning the treatment of ageism as a disease,
I find that knowledge is the most basic intervention, serving as antidote to numerous
erroneous but widely held beliefs.
Attitudes toward the Aged - What We Know and Need to Know -
Erdman B. Palmore, Duke Univ.
This research should be based on probability samples and use scales tested for reliability
and validity. In order to reduce ageism and thus improve the quality of life among our
elders, controlled experiments are needed to determine which methods of reducing ageism
are most effective and efficient.
Protected or Neglected - An Examination of Negative Versus Compassionate
Ageism in Public Conservatorship, Sandra L. Reynolds, University of South
This study examines the assumptions held in the gerontological literature that older
adults suffer negative ageism under conservatorship in comparison with younger adults. For
the purposes of this study, negative ageism is defined in four ways-with demographic and
health factors controlled: Older adults would be more likely (1) to be served under powers
to place the conservatee in locked facilities, (2) to be served under powers that
authorize treatment with psychotropic medication, (3) to be placed in locked facilities,
and (4) to receive psychotropic medications. Findings in this study do not reveal any
evidence of negative ageism; however, findings do support evidence of compassionate
Ageism and Death: Effects of Mortality Salience and Perceived Similarity to Elders
on Reactions to Elderly People - Andy Martens, Jeff Greenberg, Mark J.
Landau, University of Arizona, Jeff Schimel, University of Alberta
The present research investigated the hypotheses that elderly people can be reminders of
our mortality and that concerns about our own mortality can therefore instigate ageism.
Distancing from, and derogation of, elderly people after mortality salience occurred only
in participants who, weeks before the study, rated their personalities as relatively
similar to the average elderly persons. Discussion addresses distinguishing ageism
from other forms of prejudice, as well as possibilities for reducing ageism.