Age norms for older adults among Koreans: perceptions and influencing factors

September 2014
Ageing & Society;Sep2014, Vol. 34 Issue 8, p1335
Academic Journal
Despite rapid social change that has influenced the social status of older adults, expectations about their behaviour and whether such expectations differ across generations remain unexplored in Korea. Based on ageing theories of activity, disengagement and modernisation, this study investigated age norms among Koreans conceptualised as shared expectations of appropriate behaviours of older adults. Competing perspectives in intergenerational relations and prejudice toward older adults were examined to test if they influenced age norms and if such associations varied across different age groups. Data were analysed from a survey of 1,445 individuals aged 20 and above who resided in 16 administrative districts of Korea. Comparisons of age norms across age groups indicated that the older adult group (age 65+) held more restrictive attitudes about social participation and engagement in various behaviours in old age than the middle-aged adults (ages 45–64) and younger adults (ages 20–44). Respondents with more prejudice towards older adults tended to place more restrictions on the behaviour of older adults. A significant interaction indicated that respondents whose views were in line with a generational conflictive perspective, assessed as reporting more competitive perspectives between young and old people and being less supportive of intergenerational programmes, had a more restrictive view about older adults' behaviours among the middle-aged group but less restrictive attitudes in determining acceptable behaviour in later life among the older adult group.


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