Black/white comparisons in negative stereotypes toward older people

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Neale R. Chumbler


The present study compares Blacks' and Whites' stereotypes of older people. The respondents are college students of a state university in the Southeast(N=492). The study uses a recently developed Stereo types Toward Older People Scale, consisting of intolerance, health behavior, negative personality characteristics, and inactivity dimensions and has demonstrated reliability and validity. Few studies have specifically compared Black and White differences in negative stereotypes toward older individuals, but instead have used race as a control variable. Results of this study show that without employing control variables, Blacks as compared to Whites believe that older people have more intolerance, have negative personality characteristics, and are in active. However, when respondents' gender, age, family income and academic major were controlled, the study found that respondents' age accounted for the racial differences in negative personality characteristics, and family income accounted for the racial difference in the intolerance toward older individuals. The implications of these findings are discussed and their potential effects on the informal and formal support sectors.

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