Improving attitudes regarding the elderly population: The effects of information and reinforcement for change

Amie M. Ragan, Anne M. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Altering negative attitudes associated with ageism may be possible by giving people accurate information about older people in conjunction with reinforcement for change. Design and Methods: Ninety-nine college students (35 men, 63 women; mean age = 20 years, SD = 2.78) participated in one of three groups: information only, information plus an innocuous discussion group, and information plus a reinforcement-to-change discussion group. The participants' attitudes toward elderly people were measured before, immediately after the intervention, and at a one-month follow-up. Changes in attitudes across groups and time were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t tests. Results: Information alone produced initial improvements in attitudes in all groups; however, only the group members who received additional reinforcement for change maintained positive attitude changes at one-month follow-up. Implications: This study supports the premise that negative attitudes toward older people are amendable; however, the new attitude may be lost without reinforcement for change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-515
Number of pages5
JournalGerontologist
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ageism
  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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