Development of a Measure of Stereotypical Attitudes towards Older Workers

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Prolonging the working life of older adults has been suggested by various researchers and policymakers as a strategy to alleviate challenges posed by the inevitable ageing of the population. It is thus important to have measures with which to assess and monitor factors relevant to older adults' employment. Research indicates that negative attitudes towards older workers are at the heart of employment discrimination; hence, the current research developed and assessed a new measure of attitudes towards older workers. A questionnaire asking about older workers was prepared in three versions (male, female, and gender neutral). Each version of the Attitudes towards Older Workers Scale (AOWS) was pilot tested, refined, and field tested with random samples totalling 246 hiring decision-makers and 219 undergraduate students. Internal consistency ranged between .89 and .95 across the samples and questionnaire versions. Test–retest reliability correlations for male, female, and gender-neutral versions were .83, .78, and .90, respectively. The AOWS will be a valuable tool for research, development of interventions, and for informing policy formulation in the areas of ageing, retirement, and employment.

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