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Refusing the older-person role: a theoretical discussion of the development of age identity

American Sociological Association paper

Author: Mahoney, A. R.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1992


Generalized age roles provide behavior expectations for broad age categories, eg, adolescent, young adult, or older person. Behavioral norms for & attitudes about older persons are imbedded in our language & expressed in interaction, particularly between younger & older persons. As individuals move into their 50s, they often feel pressured to adopt the older-person role but because of its negative connotations, ie, association with incompetence & dependence, most older persons resist imposition of this role. It is argued that a society with an aging population cannot afford to have older-person roles imposed prematurely on its members. A framework is suggested for analyzing the interaction process through which individuals respond to age typing, using Ralph Turner's work on social roles. Research that could be done on the dynamics of the social process of aging is outlined, & ways in which individuals can be taught to counter age stereotyping are discussed.

Further Details

Full Title: American Sociological Association paper
Accession Number: 21.5.03
Keywords: older
Reads: 138