Perceptions of older adults? Measuring positive, negative, and physical descriptors using the stereotype content and strength survey

Kristy J. Carlson, David R. Black, Daniel C. Coster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the health of older adults. In addition to a higher risk for serious illness and death, the societal value of senescent adults was challenged. There have been conflicting results reported in the research literature regarding positive and negative stereotypes of older adults, and areliable and valid assessment tool to measure content (existence of astereotype) and strength (intensity of astereotype) is unavailable. To address issues with instruments employed to measure ageist stereotypes, researchers developed the Stereotypes Content and Strength Survey. University students (n=483) were directed to “think about their perceptions of older adults” and indicate how many they believed could be described using the terms listed on a5-point Likert-type scale from none-all. Response categories for each descriptive item were dichotomized into 1 = “some, most or all” and 0 = “none or few.” Based on an odds analyses of 117 items, 84 met the content criteria to be considered astereotype regarding older adults. Using the criteria for strength, items were categorized into 36 “strong,” 25 “moderate,” and 23 “weak” stereotypes. Assessing the content and strength of stereotypic beliefs using this procedure may contribute to major bias influencing ageist perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-449
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • ageism
  • attitudes toward older adults
  • discrimination
  • prejudice
  • social issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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