Grandparents Help Shape Kids' Views on Aging

From Drugs.com - January 13, 2018

Grandparents Help Shape Kids' Views on Aging

SATURDAY, Jan. 13, 2018 -- Kids who have a good relationship with their grandparents are less likely to become prejudiced against old people, a new study has found.

That prejudice, known as ageism, is fairly common in children, even in those as young as 3, according to researchers from the University of Liege in Belgium.

However, their study found that ageism tends to dwindle at about ages 10 to 12 and that, when it comes to their grandparents, it's the quality rather than the quantity of a relationship that makes the most difference.

"The most important factor associated with ageist stereotypes was poor quality of contact with grandparents," study leader Allison Flamion, a graduate student in psychology, said in a news release from the Society for Research in Child Development.

"We asked children to describe how they felt about seeing their grandparents," she said. "Those who felt unhappy were designated as having poor quality of contact. When it came to ageist views, we found that quality of contact mattered much more than frequency."

In other words, the better the grandparent/grandchild relationship, the less likely the child was prejudiced against people based on age.

The study involved surveying 1,151 kids, aged 7 to 16, who lived in the French-speaking part of Belgium. The children were mostly white and came from a variety of income backgrounds. They answered questions about subjects such as older people, getting old and how they got along with their grandparents.

The researchers also gathered information about the children's grandparents, including the state of their health.

Overall, most of the children were positive or neutral about older people. Girls were slightly more positive than boys.


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