People generally have negative attitudes toward elderly people that adversely impact their mental health. In this study, we focus on (a) germ aversion (i.e., hatred of infection), (b) youth identity, and (c) contact experience with elderly people, whose effects on negative attitudes have been considered separately. However, their interaction effects should also be investigated. We conducted an online survey of Japanese participants (N = 153, age: 19–72 years). Negative attitudes toward elderly people were measured using the Japanese short version of the Fraboni Scale of Ageism, measuring the three aspects of antilocution (i.e., slander), aversion/discrimination, and avoidance. We regressed these three aspects on the dependent variables of germ aversion, youth identity, contact experience, and their interactions (e.g., germ aversion×youth identity). The results showed associations of (a) germ aversion with increased aversion/discrimination and avoidance and (b) youth identity with strengthened antilocution, while (c) contact experience did not have any association with negative attitudes. A significant interaction effect between youth identity and contact experience on antilocution was found, such that a positive direct effect of contact experience was found in participants with high youth identity, while a negative direct effect of contact experience was found in those with low youth identity. The results suggest that a strategy to increase contact experience with elderly people (e.g., intergenerational social exchange) might be effective only for participants with low youth identity. Finally, we discuss practical applications, as in human rights education.
Yuho Shimizu, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Takaaki Hashimoto, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Kaori Karasawa, The University of Tokyo, Japan