Everyday Ageism Prevalent Among Older U.S. Adults

THURSDAY, June 16, 2022 — Everyday ageism is prevalent among U.S. adults aged 50 to 80 years and is associated with an increased risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes, according to a study published online June 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Julie Ober Allen, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and colleagues examined the prevalence of everyday ageism, group differences and disparities, and associations with indicators of poor physical and mental health in a cross-sectional study involving a sample of U.S. adults ages 50 to 80 years.

The researchers found that 93.4 percent of the 2,035 adults reported regularly experiencing one or more forms of everyday ageism. Overall, 81.2, 65.2, and 44.9 percent of adults reported internalized ageism, ageist messages, and interpersonal ageism, respectively. Several sociodemographic groups, including adults ages 65 to 80 years versus 50 to 64 years (11.23 versus 9.55) and White and Hispanic versus Black adults (10.43 and 10.09, respectively, versus 9.23) had higher Mean Everyday Ageism Scale scores. In regression analyses, higher levels of everyday ageism were associated with an increased risk for all four negative physical and mental health outcomes (e.g., odds ratio, 1.20 per additional scale point for depressive symptoms). The category associated with the greatest increase in risk for poor outcomes for all health measures was internalized ageism.

“These findings suggest that multilevel and multisector efforts may be required to reduce everyday ageism and promote positive beliefs, practices, and policies related to aging and older adults,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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