Attitudes toward aging in adult and elderly people with intellectual disability

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Abstract

The main goals of the present study were (a) to investigate three components of attitudes (cognitive, affective, and behavioral) toward aging among adult and elderly people with intellectual disability (N = 32); (b) to investigate whether there are differences, related to age and level of retardation, in conceptualization of aging; and (c) to examine how people with regular development (N = 30) and those with intellectual disabilities (N=30) differ in their attitudes toward aging. Matching between the groups was according to chronological age. Results indicated that conceptualization of old age is influenced by stereotypes. Cognitively, the subjects focused on physical characteristics. Affectively, old age is seen as threatening. Behaviorally, old people are viewed as helpless and useless. Awareness and understanding of aging increase significantly with age. The scores of the adults with normal development in a semantic differential test were significantly higher than those of their counterparts. The latter focus on physical attributes or on bodily and facial expressions. Social identity theory explains these differences. Educational intervention programs are needed to prepare people with intellectual disability for the later stages of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-759
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Gerontology
Volume28
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2002

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