Shimizu, Y., Suzuki, M., Hata, Y., & Sakaki, T. (2023).

Shimizu, Y.(清水佑輔), Suzuki, M., Hata, Y., & Sakaki, T. (2023).
Older adults are healthier than many people expect: Reducing anti-old attitudes. 
Educational Gerontology, 49(12), 1116-1127.

There are widespread anti-old attitudes held by younger people. Older adults are generally perceived as closely associated with illnesses. Thus, younger people with a higher degree of germ aversion (i.e. aversion to disease transmission) are thought to view the older population more negatively. In Study 1, we conducted an online survey (N = 981) and found that, even after controlling for the related variables such as fear of death, those with higher germ aversion had more anti-old attitudes. In Study 2, we conducted an online experiment (N = 689). Participants in the experimental group read an explanatory text which showed that older adults in general are healthier than people perceive and those in the control group read an irrelevant explanatory text. Results showed that anti-old attitudes were weaker in the experimental group than in the control group; this effect lasted at least one week. In Study 3, we conducted an online experiment similar to Study 2 (N = 997). In the experimental group, anti-old attitudes toward both the young-old (aged 65–74 years) and old-old (aged 75 years and over) were reduced. Further, advocates for policies to support older adults increased in the experimental group. The experimental manipulation in this study has the advantage that it can be conducted with a large number of participants in a simple procedure. Our findings would be useful in gerontological research aimed at improving anti-old attitudes and creating a society, in which older adults can live comfortably.