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The Spanish Intergenerational Study: Beliefs, Stereotypes, and Metacognition about Older People and Grandparents to Tackle Ageism

  • muntsant;, aida
Publication Date
Sep 03, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/geriatrics6030087
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Ageism can be seen as systematic stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination of people because of their age. For a long time, society has accepted negative stereotypes as a norm. When referring to older adults, the United Nations Global Report on Ageism warns about a severe impact. The Intergenerational Study for a Healthy Aging, a questionnaire about believes, stereotypes, and knowledge about older people and grandparents, was administered to 326 Spanish biology and medical students. Here we report the results of stereotype analysis through adjective qualification of the youth and older people performed before the survey. Content analysis of two open questions about metacognition at the end of the survey is also presented. The results show that: (1) The questionnaire promoted metacognition; (2) Positive metacognition toward grandparents was higher than for the general old population; (3) Most participants were not conscious about ageism; (4) Gender was a key factor—male students were more ageist than females; (5) The feeling of guilt was higher in the questionnaire about older people; (6) The metacognition exercise elicited thoughts and, in few cases, the need to take action to tackle ageism. In conclusion, both activities promoted active thoughts about older people vs. grandparents and helped participants realize unconscious ageism—specifically toward the older population—serving as an awareness activity that may help tackle ageism.

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