Intergenerational Intervention to Mitigate Children’s Bias Against the Elderly

Renée L. Babcock, Eileen E. MaloneBeach, Beini Woodworth-Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The age-segregated society in which we live fosters ageism and has negative consequences for both young and old. The persistence of ageism may be due to a cultural fear of growing older, or gerontophobia (Bunzel, 1972), and is actively cultivated through various forms of communication and misinformation. Unfortunately, young children are exposed to the damaging effects of ageism through their interactions with an ageist society. Partially in response to this prejudice, intergenerational programs that involve some form of common activity shared in a multigenerational setting have become popular. The current study utilized the Child-Age Implicit Association Test and two measures of explicit bias to determine whether an intergenerational intervention could mitigate negative age biases in elementary school children. Though the program did not seem to reduce bias, it was clear that implicit biases exist and that they seem to be distinct from explicit bias. It is suggested that a different program or different age groups may be more effective in reducing ageism in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-287
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Intergenerational Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Ageism
  • explicit attitudes
  • implicit attitudes
  • intergenerational programs


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