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Attitudes towards aging and physical health

Experimental Aging Research 15(1-2): 33-41

Attitudes towards aging and physical health

Brief narrative descriptions of four hypothetical individuals who differed in age and physical health were developed and presented to people who differed in age and sex. Each participants read only one of the four profiles. After reading the profile, the participant rated the profiled individual on the Rosencrantz and McNevin (1969) semantic differential scale of attitudes towards aging. Respondents were divided into a young group (29 years or younger), a middle-aged group (30-49 years), and an old group (50 years and older). No participant gender effects were found. All three age groups rated the older and younger profiles of persons in poor health more negatively than those describing healthy persons on each of the three dimensions of the Rosencrantz McNeven scale. Older respondents tended to view the younger healthy profile and to a lessor extent the younger-sick profile more positively than the older profiles, but the young and middle-aged respondents viewed the older profiles more positively than the younger profiles on all three dimensions of the scale. These findings suggest that (a) a major component of negative attitudes toward the aged may be related to the more likely occcurrence of physical illness in this age group, and (b) more negative attitudes toward the aged are more likely to occur in older than younger respondents regardless of health status.

Accession: 007043645

PMID: 2583214

DOI: 10.1080/03610738908259756

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