Same as it ever was: Comparing young adults' age bias toward older workers from 1989 and 2015
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Given the long history of age-related stereotypes ascribed to late career workers, it is important to understand whether stereotypic beliefs about older workers have eroded over time. The continued proliferation of older workers has provided ample opportunity for capability and performance realities to weaken those stereotypes. Nonetheless, beliefs and attitudes about older workers that align more closely with age stereotypes may persist among those with limited interaction with older adults in an employment context.
Data from two separate, but similar, groups of university students, collected 26 years apart, were used to test the endurance of 15 older worker stereotypes. Overall, the more recent sample expressed less positive beliefs about members of the target group. However, the variability in those responses was greater, indicating some degradation in stereotypic beliefs. Furthermore, in both groups recent positive work experience with older workers was associated with more positive attitudes towards older workers in general.
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