Expectations for communication with positive and negative subtypes of older adults

Jake Harwood, Angie Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study uses a recently-developed scale for eliciting perceptions, expectations, and evaluations of intergenerational communication. As predicted, it is found that younger adults expect to experience more anxiety, receive more complaining, and receive lower levels of attunement from an older adult who is portrayed as 'despondent' than one who is portrayed as a 'perfect grandparent.' In addition, younger adults with more negative attitudes toward older adults expect to experience more negative affect, anxiety, and communication apprehension, to feel more compassion for the older adult, and to receive lower levels of attunement and more complaining from the older adult than those with more positive attitudes. Surprisingly, younger adults with higher levels of young age identification expect to experience lower levels of apprehension, more attunement from the older adult, and to feel more compassion for the older adult than those with lower levels of age identity. These findings are discussed in terms of theoretical models of intergenerational communication, in particular the communication predicament model. In addition, younger people's feelings of having 'helped' an older person are discussed in the context of intergroup theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-33
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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