Do we all perceive experiences of age discrimination in the same way? Cross-cultural differences in perceived age discrimination and its association with life satisfaction

M. Clara P. de Paula Couto, Jana Nikitin, Sylvie Graf, Helene H. Fung, Thomas M. Hess, Shyhnan Liou, Klaus Rothermund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Age discrimination is pervasive in most societies and bears far-reaching consequences for individuals’ psychological well-being. Despite that, studies that examine cross-cultural differences in age discrimination are still lacking. Likewise, whether the detrimental association between age discrimination and psychological well-being varies across contexts remains an open question. In this study, therefore, we examined cross-cultural differences in perceived experiences of age discrimination and their detrimental association with a specific indicator of psychological well-being, which is life satisfaction. The sample was drawn from the Ageing as Future study and comprised 1653 older adults (60–90 years) from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the USA. Participants self-reported their experiences of age discrimination and their life satisfaction. Findings indicated that participants from Hong Kong and Taiwan reported experiences of perceived age discrimination more often than participants from the Czech Republic, Germany, and the USA. Furthermore, experiences of age discrimination were negatively associated with life satisfaction. Cultural context moderated this relation: We found a smaller detrimental association between perceived experiences of age discrimination and life satisfaction in Eastern cultures, that is, in contexts where such experiences were perceived to be more prevalent. These findings highlight the importance of examining age discrimination across cultures. Experiences of age discrimination are clearly undesirable in that they negatively affect psychological well-being. Our results indicate that a higher self-reported prevalence of perceived age discrimination in the samples studied weakens this negative association. We discuss these findings in terms of adaptation (versus sensitization) in response to discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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