Attitudes and stereotypes about attitudes across the lifespan

Malcolm J. Grant1, Abraham S. Ross1, Cathryn M. Button1, T. Edward Hannah1, Rhoda Hoskins1
1Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Cite this article:  Grant, M. J., Ross, A. S., Button, C. M., Hannah, T. E., & Hoskins, R. (2001). Attitudes and stereotypes about attitudes across the lifespan. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 29(8), 749-762.

Volume 29 Issue 8 | e1135 | Published: December 2001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2001.29.8.749

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In the first of 2 telephone-survey studies, factor analysis of the attitudes of 159 respondents revealed a general conservatism factor and two forms of liberalism, traditional and radical. Conservatism increased with age, traditional liberalism was strongest in women and middle-aged persons, and radical liberalism was stronger in men and decreased with age. In the second study, 240 respondents estimated the attitudes of a young, middle-aged, or old male or female target. Evidence of an “old-is-conservative” stereotype was clearest among young participants. Among old participants, the stereotype was evident only when the target was male. People associated traditional liberalism more with women than with men and radical liberalism more with men than with women. Both kinds of liberalism were expected to decrease with age. The authors conclude that age plays as important a role as gender in the attitude impressions people form during initial encounters.

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