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Cross-Generational Health Communication

  • By: Howard Giles
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The study of communication and aging is a thriving, multimethod research field that has theoretical bite as well as pragmatic implications for health. A consensually agreed assumption among scholars of this genre is that while psychological and physical health mutually influence each other, the quality of communication to and from elderly people shape each of these and are shaped by them as well.

Year after year large numbers of students consistently estimate that only 8 percent of their interactions involve unfamiliar older people, and the number increases to only 12 percent if family members (or family-like elders) are specified. When it comes to the quality of these infrequent encounters, young adults report talking to older people as being very dissatisfying and, interestingly enough, they blame older ...

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