The focus of this entry is ageism, a term Robert Butler developed in 1969. Ageism is defined as stereotyping and prejudice toward individuals based on their age. People can experience ageism at any point in the lifespan, but the present discussion focuses on age prejudice experienced by older adults, which is the most common use of the term. This entry explains the roots of ageism by first describing the content of age stereotypes. It then details how ageism can be expressed, in terms of both affective reactions to older adults and discriminatory behavior.

Age Stereotypes

Age stereotypes are complex, consisting of both positive and negative components. Young, middle-aged, and older adults share common subtypes of what they consider to be typical older adults. These include positive subtypes ...

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