Attitudes toward younger and older adults: The German Aging Semantic Differential

  • Gluth S
  • Ebner N
  • Schmiedek F
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Abstract

The present study used the German Aging Semantic Differential (ASD) to assess attitudes toward younger and older adults in a heterogeneous sample of n = 151 younger and n = 143 older adults. The questionnaire was administered in two versions, one referring to the evaluation of younger adults, the other to the evaluation of older adults. Multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis replicated the four-factor solution reported in the literature. Younger compared to older adults were rated as higher in terms of instrumentality (i.e., more active, adaptive to change) and integrity (i.e., more personally satisfied, at peace with oneself), whereas older adults were described as more autonomous and self-sufficient than younger adults. Younger participants reported more negative attitudes toward younger and older adults in some of the factors than did older participants. Structural equation modeling furthermore showed that attitudes correlated with personality characteristics and positive and negative affect, in that more agreeable, extraverted, and positively tempered participants reported less negative attitudes toward younger and older adults. Results are discussed in the context of multidimensional assessment of age stereotypes.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Age stereotypes
  • Aging Semantic Differential
  • Attitudes
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Personality and affect

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