Individual consequences of age stereotypes on older workers

A systematic review
  • Jeannette WeberEmail author
  • Peter Angerer
  • Andreas Müller



The relevance of work participation of older persons is steadily increasing due to demographic changes; however, older workers are often confronted with negative age stereotypes such as being less flexible, adaptable and productive.


Against this background this systematic review summarizes research evidence on individual consequences of age stereotypes on older workers. It further discusses potential processes behind those relationships and gives suggestions for future research and practice.

Material and methods

A systematic literature search was conducted in PsycINFO, Web of Science and Medline to identify relevant studies examining individual effects of age stereotypes on older workers. In addition, all included studies were evaluated with a standardized quality assessment tool.


A total of 25 studies could be included in this review; however, none of those studies met all quality criteria. Most studies found significant associations between negative age stereotypes and decreased self-efficacy, job satisfaction, performance as well as learning, development or increased retirement intentions of older employees.


The results of this review indicate a number of negative consequences that negative age stereotypes have on older workers and also serious flaws in the study quality of existing research. It thereby stresses the importance of more high-quality research but also the reduction of those age stereotypes to promote well-being and work participation of older persons.


Ageism Workplace Age climate Systematic review Retirement 

Individuelle Auswirkungen von Altersstereotypen auf ältere Beschäftigte

Ein systematisches Review



Die Bedeutung der Teilhabe älterer Menschen am Arbeitsleben nimmt mit dem demographischen Wandel beständig zu. Allerdings sehen sich ältere Beschäftigte immer wieder mit negativen Altersstereotypen, u. a. hinsichtlich Flexibilität, Leistungs- oder Anpassungsfähigkeit, konfrontiert.

Ziel der Arbeit

Vor diesem Hintergrund soll der Forschungsstand bezüglich individueller Auswirkungen von Altersstereotypen auf ältere Beschäftigte dargestellt sowie potenziell vermittelnde Faktoren auf diese Zusammenhänge diskutiert und entsprechender Handlungs- und Forschungsbedarf aufgezeigt werden.

Material und Methoden

Es wurde eine systematische Literaturrecherche in PsycINFO, Web of Science und Medline durchgeführt, um relevante Studien bezüglich individueller Effekte von Altersstereotypen auf ältere Beschäftigte zu identifizieren. Diese wurden darüber hinaus mit Hilfe von standardisierten Qualitätskriterien bezüglich Studiendesigns, Repräsentativität der Studienpopulation, Validität und Reliabilität der Messinstrumente sowie Kontrolle nach Confounding bewertet.


Insgesamt konnten 25 relevante Studien eingeschlossen werden. Allerdings erfüllte keine dieser Studien vollständig die definierten Qualitätskriterien. Der Großteil der eingeschlossenen Studien berichtete signifikante Zusammenhänge zwischen negativen Altersstereotypen auf der einen und verminderter Selbstwirksamkeit, Arbeitszufriedenheit, Leistung, Arbeitsengagement, Lern- oder Entwicklungsbereitschaft sowie gesteigerten Renteneintrittsabsichten älterer Beschäftigter auf der anderen Seite.


Die Ergebnisse des Reviews weisen auf eine Vielzahl von negativen Auswirkungen negativer Altersstereotypen auf ältere Beschäftigte, aber auch auf eine unzureichende Qualität bisheriger Studien hin. Dabei wird die Relevanz von zukünftiger Forschung sowie Bemühungen, negative Altersstereotype zu reduzieren, um die Teilhabe von älteren Personen am Arbeitsleben zu fördern, hervorgehoben.


Altersdiskriminierung Arbeitsplatz Altersklima Systematisches Review Ruhestand 



The authors thank Jana Neumann for her contribution to article screening, quality assessment and double checking of data extraction.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

J. Weber, P. Angerer and A. Müller declare that they have no competing interests.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

The supplement containing this article is not sponsored by industry.


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Copyright information

© Springer Medizin Verlag GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of MedicineHeinrich-Heine-University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Psychology, Work and Organizational PsychologyUniversity Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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