European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 5–15 | Cite as

Relations between views on ageing and perceived age discrimination: a domain-specific perspective

  • Peggy Voss
  • Julia K. Wolff
  • Klaus Rothermund
Original Investigation


This study investigates the relation between age stereotypes and perceived age discrimination. Existing evidence for such a relation is notoriously ambiguous with regard to its direction—age stereotypes can predict (perceived) discrimination, but experiencing discrimination may also change views on ageing—which is why we used a dataset with two waves to disentangle the direction of the associations. Considering research on the multi-dimensionality of views on ageing and perceived age discrimination, we addressed this question from a domain- and age group-specific perspective. Drawing on data from two measurement points of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS; t 1: 2008, t 2: 2011; age range at t 1: 40–93 years, n = 6092 participants at t 1), we examined reciprocal relations between views on ageing and perceived age discrimination. Cross-lagged models revealed that domain-specific views on ageing predict subsequent changes in perceived discrimination in corresponding domains: Negative views on ageing regarding personal competence, physical decline, and social interactions were associated with increases in perceived discrimination in the domains of work, medical care, and social life, respectively. However, we did not find evidence for a reciprocal effect of perceived age discrimination on views on ageing. In sum, results indicate that negative views on ageing act as self-fulfilling prophecies by predisposing people to categorize other people’s behaviour as age discrimination or to act themselves in a way that might elicit ageist behaviour in others.


Views on ageing Age stereotypes Perceived age discrimination Internalization 



This work was supported by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action on ageism (IS1402).


The German Ageing Survey was funded by German Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Grant 301-1720-2/2. Preparation of this article was made possible by a grant from the VolkswagenStiftung as part of the project “Ageing as future” (Az. 86 758) to Klaus Rothermund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Friedrich-Schiller-Universität JenaFakultät für Sozial- und Verhaltenswissenschaften, Allgemeine Psychologie IIJenaGermany
  2. 2.German Centre of GerontologyBerlinGermany

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