Implicit and Explicit Age Stereotypes for Specific Life Domains Across the Life Span: Distinct Patterns and Age Group Differences.

Experimental aging research

PubMedID: 26890635

Kornadt AE, Meissner F, Rothermund K. Implicit and Explicit Age Stereotypes for Specific Life Domains Across the Life Span: Distinct Patterns and Age Group Differences. Exp Aging Res. 2016;42(2):195-211.
BACKGROUND/STUDY CONTEXT
Drawing on research that shows the importance of age stereotypes across the life span, the authors investigated domain-specific implicit and explicit age stereotypes in different age groups.

METHODS
Implicit (Implicit Association Test [IAT]; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1464-1480) and explicit age stereotypes were assessed for the domains of family and health in a sample of N = 90 younger, middle-aged, and older adults.

RESULTS
Overall, age stereotypes were negative for the health domain but not for the family domain. Distinct patterns of age group differences emerged depending on domain and assessment method. In the family domain, older participants held the least positive explicit age stereotypes, whereas implicit stereotypes in this domain were most positive for this age group compared with the young and middle-aged groups. For the health domain, implicit and explicit age associations indicated that middle-aged participants showed the most negative age-associations.

CONCLUSIONS
These findings suggest that implicit and explicit age stereotypes in different life domains represent largely independent constructs. Differential age group effects are assumed to reflect the result of accommodative and assimilative processes that are used to cope with age-related changes. Implications for future studies of implicit and explicit age stereotypes and their influence on developmental regulation are discussed.