Age Group Dissociation
Definition and Overview
Negative views of aging can have detrimental effect on older adults’ self-concept, cognitive performance, well-being, and health (Levy 2009; Wurm et al. 2017). However, older adults are motivated to counteract negative age stereotypes and engage in self-protective behavior. Age-group dissociation is defined as the “tendency to put psychological distance between oneself and similarly aged people” (see Weiss and Lang 2012, p. 154).
Key Research Findings
There is considerable evidence demonstrating that when confronted with negative age stereotypes, older adults increase psychological distance between themselves and older people. Studies across a variety of countries and cohorts show that older adults often perceive their age peers as being “old” but themselves as much “younger” (Stephan et al. 2015) and consider themselves to be an exception rather than a typical member of older people (Weiss and Lang, 2009; Weiss and Freund 2012). More specifically, experimental...
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