ERIC Number: ED222960
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Contextual Age: Development of a Life-Position Index.
Rubin, Alan M.; Rubin, Rebecca B.
In recent years, a number of concepts have been introduced by communication researchers in an effort to transcend the limitations of the chronological age concept. Among these is the idea of contextual age, which asserts that social and environmental factors are better indicators of aging and communication behavior than is chronological age. A study was undertaken to (1) develop and examine an index of contextual age and (2) explore the associations among the component dimensions of that index and various sociodemographic descriptors, especially chronological age. The 18-item index that was constructed represented six interrelated dimensions: physical health, interpersonal interaction, mobility, life satisfaction, social activity, and economic security. The associations among contextual age and sociodemographic characteristics were examined for a sample of 640 people, ranging in age from 17 to 92. Results showed that contextual age transcended the limited heuristic nature of chronological age. Contextual age was shown to consider the individuality of aging, depending on life position indicators, and to be a more viable construct. The findings suggest that this concept should be considered in future communication and aging studies and that the continued use of chronological age as an absolute measure of aging and life position can only foster inadequate and inaccurate stereotypes of the elderly. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A