Representation of age identities in on-line discourse

Mei Chen Lin, Mary Lee Hummert, James T Harwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines how age identities are presented in an on-line discussion forum for older adults. On-line messages (N = 550) were examined using discourse and content analyses. Evidence of a tension between positive and negative age identities emerged in the analysis. Positive themes included a mind-over-body attitude, active engagement, wisdom and maturity, and the freedom of age. Negative themes involved physical decline, a sense of loss, and resistance to aging. Positive age identity themes were more frequently presented in these on-line messages than negative themes, and health-related messages were the most common. The central communication features and framing tactics of each age identity theme are discussed. Implications for theoretical perspectives on discourse and social identity, the limitations of this study, and directions for future research are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2004

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Social Identification
Communication
discourse
Health
maturity
tactics
wisdom
Direction compound
communication
health
evidence

Keywords

  • Age identity
  • Discourse analysis
  • Old people
  • On-line discussion forum
  • Social identity theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Representation of age identities in on-line discourse. / Lin, Mei Chen; Hummert, Mary Lee; Harwood, James T.

In: Journal of Aging Studies, Vol. 18, No. 3, 08.2004, p. 261-274.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lin, Mei Chen ; Hummert, Mary Lee ; Harwood, James T. / Representation of age identities in on-line discourse. In: Journal of Aging Studies. 2004 ; Vol. 18, No. 3. pp. 261-274.
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