Gendered perceptions of aging: an examination of college students

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2008;67(4):359-86. doi: 10.2190/AG.67.4.d.


Few studies examine how the gendered nature of aging impacts young adults--shaping their images of later life, attitudes toward elderly persons, aging anxieties, and conceptions of the start of "old age." We examine gender differences in young adults' views of elders and the aging process using a survey of college students and content analysis of student-drawn sketches of elders (N = 391). Results indicate that both genders hold more positive images of elderly women than men; however, they view "old age" as beginning at a younger age for women. In addition, we find that, compared with men, women report later starts of "old age" for both genders and more favorable attitudes toward elders, but also greater aging anxiety.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Art
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Social Perception*
  • Stereotyping
  • Students / psychology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult