Social representations on aging: Structural differences concerning age group and cultural context

Joao Wachelke, Alberta Contarello


Mainly due to the salience of the world population aging
phenomenon, aging and old age are consistently gaining
relevance in social life and pointing out to the importance
of characterizing the social representations about the
topic. After identifying the need of systematic structural
research at the level of structural status and basic cognitive
scheme activation related to the social representations
on aging, two controlled survey studies were conducted
to assess the roles of age group and cultural context to
differentiate representational structures. Gender was also
taken into account. Study 1 had a sample of 80 Italian
participants balanced by gender and age group (young
and mature). Study 2 had a similar design, comparing the
results from the young Italian sample to a group of 40
young Brazilians. Instruments were questionnaires with
standard basic cognitive schemes tasks and centrality
questionnaires. Log-linear analysis and one-way chi-square
tests were employed for data analysis. Results indicated that
both, in terms of structural status and scheme activation,
the age group and cultural context variables are associated
to representational differences, while the role of gender
was restricted to peripheral modulations. The study sets
foundations for further basic and applied research by
providing a baseline structural characterization.

Palabras clave

social representations; aging; age groups; culture; structural approach

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