ERIC Number: ED238775
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Children's Descriptions of and Attitudes toward the Elderly.
Fillmer, H. Thompson
Children today do not have sufficient association with the elderly to form accurate impressions of them. Much children's information is provided through television and books which present stereotyped images of the elderly as inactive, lonely, nonproductive, crabby, and physically decrepit. To determine whether intermediate grade students respond differently to young and old people, 144 boys and girls in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades examined pictures of a young man, old man, young woman, and old woman, recording whether they though these people appeared sick or healthy, ugly or attractive, rich or poor, happy or sad, and friendly or unfriendly. The students also answered five questions designed to assess their willingness to socialize with these two age groups. Results indicate that children do stereotype the elderly. While old people were rated more favorably in the adjective section of the survey, they were rated worse in the affective feeling responses, suggesting that children's lack of contact with the elderly may cause their social discomfort. Findings indicate the need to help children develop more realistic attitudes towards the aged, through greater exposure to the aging process and to old people themselves. (LP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Reading Association (28th, Anaheim, CA, May 2-6, 1983).