Stereotype Threat Among Older Employees: Relationship With Job Attitudes and Turnover Intentions

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Abstract

Stereotype threat, or the belief that one may be the target of demeaning stereotypes, leads to acute performance decrements and reduced psychological well-being. The current research examined stereotype threat among older employees, a group that is the target of many negative stereotypes. Study 1 surveyed older workers in two different organizations regarding their experiences of stereotype threat, their job attitudes and work mental health, and their intentions to resign or retire. Across both samples, feelings of stereotype threat were related to more negative job attitudes and poorer work mental health. In turn, these negative job attitudes were associated with intentions to resign and (possibly) retire. In Study 2, younger and older employees were surveyed. The results indicated that only for older employees were feelings of stereotype threat negatively related to job attitudes, work mental health, and intentions to resign. The implications of these findings for understanding job attitudes and intentions among older workers are discussed.

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