Abstracts: December 6th, 2010

This report from the Department for Work and Pensions sets out an approach to measuring attitudes to age and quantifying the experiences of ageism in Britain. It provides a framework for assessing attitudes to age which can be used in any measurement exercise.

The report describes how age categories and boundaries vary according to a number of factors. Young respondents perceived the end of youth on average at age 26 and the start of old age at age 53. The start of old age for older peoples varied from 40 to 66. The difference between the two age groups was highly significant.

The report identifies a number of concepts which are in harmony with well established social psychological theory and methods, and each has both a conceptual and a practical relationship with people’s experiences and expressions of attitudes toward age and ageing.

The concepts include the perceived status of age categories, the social distance between the person taking the view and the object of their view and the stereotypes associated with age categories.

Other factors include direct prejudice towards age groups, the experienced discrimination and the extent of contact with different age categories.

The report is available from DWP.