Attitudes toward older adults: The perceived value of grandparent as a social role

George Stricker, Jennifer L. Hillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present study examined the discrepancy between young and middle-aged adults' persistently negative attitudes toward older adults in general and their consistently positive attitudes toward grandparents. Two hundred-twenty young and middle-aged college students completed the Aging Semantic Differential and indicated or estimated (where appropriate) the average age for three categories of older adults: old people in general, typical (i.e., hypothetical, prototypical) grandparents, and their own grandparents. A pattern of results emerged in which students viewed older adults less positively than typical grandparents, who generally were viewed less positively than known grandparents. Because older people in general and typical grandparents were estimated as being similar in age, the positive attitudes expressed toward typical grandparents may be attributed to the social role of grandparent over and above any bias against increased age. Because students were most positive about their own grandparents, aspects of their individual grandparental relationships appear to have an additional, additive effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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