Gerontology & Geriatrics

Awareness is first step in helping stop ageism, say researchers

Ever cracked a joke about old people? It might seem funny, but in a world where the population aged 60 or over is growing faster than all younger age groups, ageism is no laughing matter, says a University of Alberta researcher.

Health

Fears of ageing may cause earlier death: UN

Being afraid of growing old may shorten your life, the UN health agency said Thursday, as new data highlighted the widespread prevalence of ageist attitudes worldwide.

Health

Understanding ageism prolongs your life

Perceptions about ageism makes people think of older people and is a form of discrimination. This according to Fredrik Snellman at Umeå University who believes that the concept needs to be redefined to mirror all people's ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Researchers chart new path for study of ageism

Michael North, a fifth-year graduate student in psychology at Princeton University, knew he was lucky to land a summer research position at the University of Michigan after he finished his bachelor's degree there in 2006.

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Ageism

Ageism, also called age discrimination is stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination. This may be casual or systematic. The term was coined in 1968 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism. Butler defined ageism as a combination of three connected elements. Among them were prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about older people The term has also been used to describe prejudice and discrimination against adolescents and children, including ignoring their ideas because they are too young, or assuming that they should behave in certain ways because of their age.

Ageism in common parlance and age studies usually refers to negative discriminatory practices against old people, people in their middle years, teenagers and children. There are several forms of age-related bias. Adultism is a predisposition towards adults, which is seen as biased against children, youth, and all young people who are not addressed or viewed as adults. Jeunism is the discrimination against older people in favor of younger ones. This includes political candidacies, jobs, and cultural settings where the supposed greater vitality and/or physical beauty of youth is more appreciated than the supposed greater moral and/or intellectual rigor of adulthood. Adultcentricism is the "exaggerated egocentrism of adults." Adultocracy is the social convention which defines "maturity" and "immaturity," placing adults in a dominant position over young people, both theoretically and practically. Gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Chronocentrism is primarily the belief that a certain state of humanity is superior to all previous and/or future times.

Other conditions of fear or aversion associated with age groups have their own names, particularly: Pedophobia, the fear of infants and children; Ephebiphobia, the fear of youth, sometimes also referred as an irrational fear of adolescents or a prejudice against teenagers; and Gerontophobia, the fear of elderly people.

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