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Ageism Definitions

Embodied Ageism

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Stereotype embodiment theory states “stereotypes are embodied when their assimilation from the surrounding culture leads to self-definitions that, in turn, influence functioning and health” (Levy, 2009). When internalized, implicit ageism impacts an older adult’s physical being, the person lives in a condition of stereotype embodiment known as embodied ageism.  Levy’s approach narrows the overall discrimination theory of embodiment (Krieger, 1999) to self-definitions ultimately influencing health and functioning. Both concepts of embodied ageism are accurate. Following Krieger's explanation of embodiment, embodied ageism can be broadly defined as “the biological expression of age-based social inequality,” yet this conceptualization doesn't include insight into the mechanisms by which embodied ageism appear to function. Thus, embodied ageism can be more specifically understood as “implicit ageist stereotypes internalized to such a degree that individual health is negatively affected” (Kenny, 2011).

Works Cited
Kenny, H. (2011). Ageism in America: An Important Public Health Issue. Aging In America. San Francisco: American Society on Aging.
Krieger, N. (1999). Embodying Inequality: A Review of Concepts Measures, and Methods for Studying Health Consequences of Discrimination. International Journal of Health Services , 29 (2), 295-352.
Levy, B. (2009). Stereotype Embodiment : A Psychosocial Approach to Aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science , 332-336.



Implicit Ageism

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Implicit Ageism

Ageism manifests both explicitly and implicitly, distinguished by intentionality. Explicit ageism occurs when there is a conscious awareness, intention or control in the thoughts, feelings or actions of an institution, law or person in regards to the treatment or consideration of an older adult. Conversely, implicit ageism includes thoughts, feelings and actions toward older adults that exist and operate without conscious awareness, intention or control (Levy & Banaji, 2004). It is believed that when a culture’s ageist stereotypes are internalized, they become part of a sub-conscious framework of society, which is expressed through implicit ageism (Levy, 2001).



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