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The barriers to and enablers of positive attitudes to ageing and older people, at the societal and individual level

Abrams, Dominic and Swift, Hannah J. and Lamont, Ruth A. and Drury, Lisbeth (2015) The barriers to and enablers of positive attitudes to ageing and older people, at the societal and individual level. Technical report. Government Office for Science, Kent, UK (KAR id:57832)

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In the light of social and economic challenges posed by rapid population ageing there is an

increased need to understand ageism – how it is expressed and experienced, its consequences

and the circumstances that contribute to more or less negative attitudes to age.

Ageism is the most prevalent form of discrimination in the UK (Abrams et al., 2011a), estimated

to cost the economy £31 billion per year (Citizens Advice, 2007). It restricts employment

opportunities, and reduces workplace productivity and innovation (Swift et al., 2013). Ageism

also results in inequality and social exclusion, reducing social cohesion and well-being (Abrams

and Swift, 2012; Stuckelberger et al., 2012; Swift et al., 2012). Not only is ageism a barrier to

the inclusion and full participation of older people in society, but it also affects everyone by

obscuring our understanding of the ageing process. Moreover, by reinforcing negative

stereotypes, ageism can even shape patterns of behaviour that are potentially detrimental to

people’s self-interest (Lamont et al., 2015).

Here we review national and some international research from the last 25 years to reveal what

our core attitudes to ageing are and how they result in discrimination and other damaging

consequences. We outline the prevalence of perceived age-based discrimination and its

consequences for individuals and society, and then explore the individual and societal factors

that contribute to more positive or negative attitudes to age and their application to reducing

experiences of ageism. We conclude by considering areas that are likely to be key for policy,

research and practice.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical report)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Hannah Swift
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2016 11:07 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 11:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abrams, Dominic:
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