PMID: 7086085Jul 1, 1982Paper

The effects of contextual variations on attitudes toward the elderly

Journal of Gerontology
J A WingardS A Himelstein


This study examined how attitudes about the elderly are influenced by the procedural context in which attitude expression is assessed. The Tuckman-Lorge Attitudes Toward Old People Questionnaire was modified so that all items reflected evaluative attitude statements; then it was administered to 263 adults in two judgmental contexts. One group was induced to make comparative judgments by rating how much the Tuckman-Lorge items described "old" people and "young" people, whereas a second group made isolated judgments by rating the items for "old" people only. Analyses revealed that adults in the comparative context expressed more extreme negative attitudes about the elderly than adults in the isolated context. Correlational analyses revealed consistent but generally weak relationships between attitudes toward the elderly and various demographic characteristics. The findings indicate that conflicting results from studies of attitudes about the elderly may be partially explained by procedural differences in the kind of judgmental context used.


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