Attitudes Toward Younger and Older Adults: An Updated Meta-Analytic Review

Authors


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mary E. Kite, Graduate School, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, 765-285-1300 [e-mail: mkite@bsu.edu]. This research was supported by a grant (R03 AG17328-01) to the first author from the National Institute of Aging.

Abstract

This meta-analytic review of 232 effect sizes showed that, across five categories, attitudes were more negative toward older than younger adults. Perceived age differences were largest for age stereotypes and smallest for evaluations. As predicted by social role theory (Eagly, 1987), effect sizes were reduced when detailed information was provided about the person being rated. The double standard of aging emerged for evaluations and behavior/behavioral intentions, but was reversed for the competence category. Perceptions depended on respondent age also. Results demonstrated both the multi-dimensionality and the complexity of attitudes toward older adults (Hummert, 1999; Kite & Wagner, 2002).

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