Multiple stereotypes of elderly and young adults: a comparison of structure and evaluations

Psychol Aging. 1990 Jun;5(2):182-93. doi: 10.1037//0882-7974.5.2.182.


Following Schmidt and Boland's (1986) method, college student informants sorted a trait set into 1 or more groups with reference to elderly or young adults. Analysis of these data confirmed the existence of multiple stereotypes of both age groups but showed little similarity between stereotypes of the elderly and the young. Other informants made attitude, age, and typicality judgements of persons representing either the elderly or young adult stereotypes. Results showed that attitudes varied with the stereotype activated and were similar for analogous elderly and young adult stereotypes. Results also suggested that young adults do not view negative stereotypes as more typical of the elderly than positive ones; however, they believe the negative stereotypes are more characteristic of the old-old than are the positive and see positive stereotypes as more typical of young adults than negative ones.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Character
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Perception
  • Stereotyping*