Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Beliefs about Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease in Three Domains*

  • Tiana B. Rust (a1) and Sheree T. Kwong See (a1)
Abstract

This repeated measures study examined undergraduate students’ beliefs about aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the cognitive, social, and physical domains. Students rated typical 25-year-olds (young target), typical 75-year-olds (old target), and typical institutionalized persons with AD (AD target) on 46 statements about cognitive, physical, and social abilities. Beliefs about aging were found to be generally negative in the cognitive and physical domains but positive in the social domain, consistent with the age-stereotyping literature. Interestingly, by comparing ratings of old and AD targets, beliefs were found to be generally negative in the cognitive and social domains but positive in the physical domain. AD is perceived to be a disease primarily of the mind, but in comparison to differences expected with aging, physical prowess is enhanced. Documenting beliefs, a first step toward modifying stereotyped behaviour, could have significant effects on the health and well-being of older adults and persons with AD.

Cette étude des mesures répétées a examiné les croyances des étudiants de premier cycle concernant le vieillissement et la maladie d’Alzheimer (MA) dans les domaines cognitifs, physiques et socials. Les étudiants ont evalué les personnes typiques de 25 ans (cible jeune), les personnes typiques de 75 ans (cible vieux), et les personnes institutionnalisées typiques avec MA (MA cible) sur 46 déclarations sur les capacités cognitives, physiques et sociaux. Croyances sur le vieillissement se sont avérés pour être généralement négative dans les domaines cognitifs et physiques mais positive dans le domaine social, ce qui est compatible avec la littérature des stéréo-types de l’âge. La maladie d’Alzheimer est perçu comme une maladie essentiellement de l’esprit, mais on croit, qu’en comparaison avec les différences prévues au vieillissement, que la prouesse physique est renforcée. Documenter les croyances, un premier pas vers la modification des comportements stéréotypes, pourrait avoir des effets significatifs sur la santé et le bien-être des personnes agées et des personnes atteintes de MA.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Tiana Rust, M.Sc., P217 Biological Sciences Bldg, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada, T6G 2E9 (rust@ualberta.ca)
Footnotes
Hide All
*

These data formed T. Rust’s master’s thesis, and some of these data were previously presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association on Gerontology in Halifax, NS (October 2005). This research was supported by Alzheimer Care Research Grant G599000875 to T. Rust and S. Kwong See; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council G124130227 to S. Kwong See; and Dr. Peter N. McCracken Legacy Scholarship, Gyro Club of Edmonton Graduate Scholarship, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada Graduate Scholarship to T. Rust. We thank Sharon So and Stephanie Heath for their assistance with data entry.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2010). Disease statistics. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/stats-intro.htm
Baltes, M.M., & Carstensen, L.L. (1996). The process of successful aging. Ageing & Society, 16, 397422.
Barrett, A.E., & Cantwell, L.E. (2007). Drawing on stereotypes: Using undergraduates’ sketches of elders as a teaching tool. Educational Gerontology, 33, 327348.
Cumming, E., & Henry, W.E. (1961). Growing old: The process of disengagement. New York: Basic Books.
Cummings, S., Cassie, K., Galambos, C., & Wilson, E. (2006). Impact of an infusion model on social work students’ aging knowledge, attitudes, and interests. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 47, 173186.
Giardina-Roche, C., & Black, M.E.A. (1990). Attitudes of diploma student nurses toward adult clients. Journal of Nursing Education, 29, 208214.
Giles, H., Ryan, E.B., & Anas, A.P. (2008). Perceptions of intergenerational communication by young, middle-aged, and older Canadians. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 40, 121130.
Guo, X., Erber, J.T., & Szuchman, L.T. (1999). Age and forgetfulness: Can stereotypes be modified? Educational Gerontology, 25, 457466.
Heckhausen, J., Dixon, R.A., & Baltes, P.B. (1989). Gains and losses in development throughout adulthood as perceived by different adult age groups. Developmental Psychology, 25, 109121.
Henderson, J., Xiao, L., Kelton, M., Paterson, J., & Siegloff, L. (2008). ‘Older people have lived their lives’: First year nursing students’ attitudes towards older people. Contemporary Nurse, 30, 3245.
Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., Shaner, J.L., & Strahm, S. (1995). Judgments about stereotypes of the elderly: Attitudes, age associations, and typicality ratings of young, middle-aged and elderly adults. Research on Aging, 17, 168189.
Kahana, E., Kinney, J.M., Kercher, K., Kahana, B., Tinsley, V.V., King, C., et al. (1996). Predictors of attitudes toward three target groups of elderly persons: The well, the physically ill, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Aging and Health, 8, 2753.
Kite, M.E., & Johnson, B.T. (1988). Attitudes toward older and younger adults: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 3, 232234.
Kite, M.E., Stockdale, G.D., Whitley, B.E. Jr., & Johnson, B.T. (2005). Attitudes toward older and younger adults: An updated meta-analysis. Journal of Social Issues, 61, 241266.
Kwong See, S.T., & Heller, R. (2004). Judging older targets’ discourse: How do age stereotypes influence evaluations. Experimental Aging Research, 30, 6373.
Kwong See, S.T., & Heller, R. (2005). Measuring ageism in children. In Palmore, E., Branch, L., & Harris, D. (Eds.), The encyclopedia of ageism (pp. 210217). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
Kwong See, S.T., Hoffman, H.G., & Wood, T. (2001). Perceptions of an elderly eyewitness: Is the older eyewitness believable? Psychology and Aging, 16, 346350.
Kwong See, S.T., & Ryan, E.B. (1999). Intergenerational communication: The survey interview as a social exchange. In Schwarz, N., Park, D., Knauper, B., & Sudman, S. (Eds.), Aging, cognition, and self-reports (pp. 245262). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
Learman, L.A., Avorn, J., Everitt, D.E., & Rosenthal, R. (1990). Pygmalion in the nursing home: The effects of caregiver expectations on patient outcomes. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 38, 797803.
Lee, M.M., Carpenter, B., & Meyers, L.S. (2007). Representations of older adults in television advertisements. Journal of Aging Studies, 21, 2330.
Lee, S.Y., Hoerr, S.L., Weatherspoon, L., & Schiffman, R.F. (2008). Nutrition students improve attitudes after a guided experiential assignment with older adults. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 40(5), 279287.
Levin, J., & Levin, W.C. (1980). Ageism: Prejudice and discrimination toward the elderly. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Levy, B.R. (2003). Mind matters: Cognitive and physical effects of aging self-stereotypes. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Science, 58, 203211.
Levy, B.R., Slade, M.D., & Gill, T. (2006). Hearing decline predicted by elders’ age stereotypes. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 61, 8287.
Levy, B.R., Slade, M.D., Kunkel, S.R., & Kasl, S.V. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 261270.
Levy, B.R., Zonderman, A.B., Slade, M.D., & Ferrucci, L., (2009). Age stereotypes held earlier in life predict cardiovascular events in later life. Psychological Science, 20, 296298.
Nunnally, J.C., & Bernstein, I.H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Palmore, E. (1990). Ageism: Negative and positive. New York: Springer.
Rader, J. (1995). Individualized dementia care: Creative compassionate approaches. New York: Springer Publishing.
Rosencranz, H.A., & McNevin, T.E. (1969). A factor analysis of attitudes toward the aged. The Gerontologist, 9, 5559.
Rowe, J., & Kahn, R. (1998). Successful aging. New York: Random House.
Rust, T.B., & Kwong See, S. (2007). Knowledge about aging and Alzheimer disease. Educational Gerontology, 33, 349364.
Ryan, E.B. (1992). Beliefs about memory changes across the adult lifespan. Journal of Gerontology, 47, P41P46.
Ryan, E.B., Jin, Y.-S., & Anas, A.P. (2009). Cross-cultural beliefs about memory and aging for self and others: South Korea and Canada. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 68(3), 185194.
Ryan, E.B., Jin, Y.S., Anas, A.P., & Luh, J. (2004). Communication beliefs about youth and old age in Asia and Canada. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 19, 343360.
Ryan, E.B., & Kwong See, S. (1993). Age-based beliefs about memory changes for self and others across adulthood. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 48, 199201.
Ryan, E.B., Kwong See, S., Meneer, W.B., & Trovato, D. (1992). Age-based perceptions of language performance among younger and older adults. Communication Research, 19, 423443.
Schieber, F. (2006). Vision and aging. In Birren, J.E. & Schaie, K.W. (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (6th ed., pp. 129162). Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.
Slotterback, C.S., & Saarnio, D.A. (1996). Attitudes toward older adults reported by young adults: Variation based on attitudinal task and attribute categories. Psychology and Aging, 11, 563571.
Stones, M.J., & Stones, L. (1997). Ageism: The quiet epidemic. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 88(5), 293296.
Wilkinson, J.A., & Ferraro, K.F. (2002). Thirty years of ageism research. In Nelson, T.D. (Ed.), Ageism: Stereotyping and prejudice against older adults. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Woolsey, L.J. (2007). Physician assistant attitude and expressed intent to work with geriatric patients. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, 28(1), 6178.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed