Ageism and ageist language across the life span: Intimate relationships and non-intimate interactions

Jon F. Nussbaum, Margaret J. Pitts, Frances N. Huber, Janice L. Raup Krieger, Jennifer E. Ohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


The possible effects of ageist language and ageism on the structure and function of intimate and non-intimate relationships have received significant attention from social scientists. Recent research grounded in communication accommodation theory (Giles, Mulac, Bradac, & Johnson, 1987), the communication predicament model of ageing (Ryan, Giles, Bartolucci, & Henwood, 1986), the communication enhancement model of ageing (Ryan, Meredith, MacLean, & Orange, 1995), and ageing and stereotype research by Hummert (1994) and colleagues (Hummert & Mazloff, 2001; Hummert, Shaner, & Garstka, 1995) point toward the numerous consequences of both negative and positive attitudes toward ageing. Focusing specifically on health care settings, this article reviews recent theoretical positions and empirical findings that link ageist language and ageism to these positive and negative social consequences, and offers pragmatic suggestions and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-305
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 7 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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