Communication Beliefs About Youth and Old Age in Asia and Canada
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Two cross-cultural studies compared beliefs in Asia and Canada about communication in later life. With an expanded version of the Language in Adulthood Questionnaire, respondents rated a young or old adult target on communication skills selected to elicit both negative and positive stereotypes. Chinese, Chinese-Canadian, and Canadian participants were compared in Study 1 while younger and older respondents from South Korea and Canada were contrasted in Study 2. All groups showed negative beliefs about hearing and memory in old age. Positive communication beliefs were also evident for empathy, storytelling and social skills. Participants in Asia showed less stereotyping overall, for both negative and positive beliefs. Significant age interactions in Study 2 reflected positive communication beliefs only for the older participants. In line with recent investigations of the multidimensional impact of Eastern traditions, greater positivity toward older adults was not observed in Asia. This work highlights the importance of assessing both positive and negative age beliefs in cross-cultural comparisons.
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