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The Forum
The Gerontologist
Vol. 41, No. 5, 572–575

Copyright 2001 by The Gerontological Society of America

The Ageism Survey: First Findings

Purpose: To develop an instrument that can be used to answer three questions: What is the prevalence of ageism in various societies? Which types of ageism are more prevalent? Which subgroups of older people report more ageism? Methods: A survey instrument was developed listing 20 types of ageism. This instrument was tested on a convenience sample of 84 persons older than age 60.
Results: The instrument appears to have satisfactory reliability and validity. The survey found that the experience of ageism was widespread and frequent among these respondents. The majority reported several incidents of ageism and over half of the incidents were reported to have occurred “more than once.” The most frequent types were persons showing disrespect for older people, followed by persons showing assumptions about ailments or frailty caused by age. Implications: Researchers now have a reliable and valid instrument for measuring the prevalence of ageism in various societies and of various types of ageism experienced by various groups of older persons. This may aid in reducing the prevalence of ageism in our society.

Nevertheless, ageism is widespread in our society, in contrast to more traditional societies where old age is honored and respected (Palmore & Maeda, 1985).
Yet nobody knows how much ageism there is, nor how prevalent the various forms of ageism are in different societies and different groups. This is because, up to now, no one has developed a way to measure ageism. In order to develop such a measure, I have designed and tested an “Ageism Survey” (see Appendix) with 20 items and with questions about the respondent’s age, gender, and education.
I hope this survey will be used to answer three…...

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