The concept of ageism

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The Concept of Ageism

The term "ageism" is used in the fields of perceptual, affective, and behavioral dimensions, based on whether the issue is intentional or unconscious. Ageism is a racist and stereotypic term used to refer to the elderly and includes those from all ends of the age continuum. The three basic causes of ageism are important in the context of ageism as a whole. The cognitive component of ageism applies to stereotyped beliefs, how people think, and expectations and representations of an object of attitude. An effective feature of ageism refers to our views on how we feel, and stereotypes provide an assessment of both positive and negative emotions. Group culture develops over time and consists of the knowledge and understanding people share. In the same way, beliefs and assumptions about age and aging develop over time and have a powerful impact on our attitudes toward age and older people, and consequently on how we live our lives. The behavioral aspect of ageism is the discriminatory practices referring to how one feels and the disposition or impulse to act in a given manner concerning an object.

The Manifestation of Ageism

The concept of ageism manifests itself in two different ways which are implicit and explicit ageism. The classical factors also lead to implicit and explicit ageism which refer to the context of conscious and unconsciousness. Referring to implicit ageism, it is the subconscious thinking, behaviors, and feelings that a person has concerning the aged individuals and the young people. It consists of a mixture of positive and negative thoughts and feelings. With this implicit thinking, it is thought that ageism stereotypes are particularly internalized through becoming part of the subconscious framework in the society and is expecting in conscious ageism. When individuals age and become perceived older adults, the external forces of the formal policy, social interaction qualification. Implicit ageism becomes self-perception and self-referential.

The Phenomenon of Ageism

Explicit ageism does occur give a conscious awareness and a deliberate move to control the feelings, thoughts and the actions of an institution. This is regarding the consideration and treatment of older people. Ageism is a phenomenon of growing concern because of our dramatically aging population. Ageism is reflected in beliefs such as that, in general, older people are frail, senile, useless, dependent, rigid, cautious, or a burden. The conscious ageism the automatic prejudices and stereotypes while implicit is the alteration in the feelings and beliefs in response to a person's perception in chronological age. Ageism is said to be socially constructed, and the concept of ageism could also be negative and positive prejudices and stereotypes along with discriminations against the old people.

The Social Psychological Components of Ageism

The concepts do include classic social psychological components of the cognitive, affective and behavioral components. Rodin and Langer (1980) argued that older people need increased opportunities for esteem-building and personal control, rather than the attention and pampering that foster dependency. This line of reasoning argues strongly for social changes that provide opportunities for real control, not simply strategies that increase perceived control while options or actual control remain unavailable. Revera (2012) recommends individual, societal, organizational, and government-level work to challenge stereotypes, understand the true needs of older adults, value their contributions, and focus on "developing policies that enable people of all ages to have the choices they need to live their lives to the fullest." Notably, the aspects of chronological age perception are categorized as an act of aging human being. This thus means that ageism can operate as implicit and explicit on the cultural level and institutional level.


Rodin, J., & Langer, W. (1980). Aging labels: The decline of control and the fall of self-esteem. Journal of Social Issues, 36(2), 12–29.

Revera Inc. (2012). Revera report on ageism. Missauga, ON: Revera Inc.

May 04, 2022




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