Graduate School of Social Service Professor Carole Cox, Ph.D., recently spoke to Choosing Therapy about ageism and its impacts on older adults’ mental health.
The article, titled “Ageism: What It Is & How to Respond,” explores what ageism is, examples of ageism, and how to respond to ageism.
Ageism is defined as “a process of stereotyping and discriminating against people because of their age.” It impacts older adults’ finances as they seek employment. It can also cause mental and emotional distress.
In the article, Cox said:
“Ageism is discrimination and even oppression on the basis of age. Common to all of the ‘isms,’ ageism can have a negative psychological impact on older adults who experience it as a force that differentiates them from others and stigmatizes them as it portrays them as ‘less worthy.’ To the extent that persons internalize these beliefs and negative stereotypes, their own self-worth and value may be threatened. Research has found that such negative self-perceptions are associated with anxiety, depression, and lower self-esteem. Unfortunately, older adults are less likely than their younger peers to seek therapeutic help and if they do seek assistance, they often find therapists are less willing to accept them, a factor that reflects their own ageist beliefs.”
Choosing Therapy is an online mental health startup. Its articles are written by licensed therapists, and reviewed by medical doctors.