Perceived Age Discrimination in the Second Half of Life: An Examination of Age, Period, and Cohort Effects

Liat Ayalon, Octavio Bramajo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Ageism is defined as stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination based on age. Perceived age discrimination (e.g., the behavioral component of ageism) is highly prevalent in society, as reported by 1 in 3 people in Europe. The present study examined variations in perceived age discrimination in the second half of life. We adopt a comprehensive approach that examines whether perceived age discrimination varies by age (chronological time from birth), period (the context when data were collected), or cohort (a group of people with shared life events experienced at a similar age) across gender and ethnic origin. Research Design and Methods: We relied on psychosocial data from the Health and Retirement Survey between 2006 and 2018. We ran a set of age–period–cohort models to determine the separate effects of aging (age) factors, contextual (period) factors, and generational (cohort) factors on perceived age discrimination. Results: Our findings show that perceived age discrimination increases with age but reaches a plateau around the age of 75. There also were some cohort effects, but they appeared minimal and inconsistent. No period effects were found. Discussion and Implications: The findings attest to the consistent nature of perceived age discrimination, which is less likely to be affected by external contextual events. It also is less likely to be affected by gender or ethnicity. The findings also suggest that it is older persons who are more likely to report age discrimination, thus, interventions should address ageism in this age group.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberigad094
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s).


The Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) is a longitudinal representative panel study of U.S. citizens over the age of 50 that is publicly available for use. Data collection started in 1992 and occurs on a biennial schedule. The HRS oversamples Blacks, Hispanics, and residents of Florida. A new cohort of individuals between the ages of 51 and 56 is added every 6 years. As of 2006, half the sample is interviewed in person and the remaining half is interviewed by phone. Starting in early 2003, a small subset of interviews was conducted online. A self-report psychosocial survey (leave-behind questionnaire) was introduced in 2004 with longitudinal data on the survey being collected every 4 years. The study is funded through a cooperative agreement between the National Institute of Aging and the University of Michigan (U01 AG009740) with supplemental funding from the U.S. Social Security Administration (). The HRS data collection was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Michigan.

FundersFunder number
National Institute on Aging
U.S. Social Security Administration
University of MichiganU01 AG009740


    • Ageism
    • Age–period–cohort
    • Discrimination
    • Subjective


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