Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge

Abstract

With a growing number of older people in the United States, it is important for social workers to acknowledge that ageism exists in our society and continue to research, study and understand the influences that contribute to it. Media outlets are one source that has been found to have an influence on people’s perceptions about older adults. A qualitative study was carried out to determine if the messages in age specific greeting cards that are produced specifically for individuals age 60 and older portray more positive or negative perceptions about aging or older individuals. The non-probability, convenience sample for this study included 83 greeting cards. Using Grounded Theory Method, the data from the prose of the cards was coded and major themes emerged. It was found that the messages presented in the greeting cards displayed many forms of ageism both positive and negative in nature. Future research on the messages presented in different forms of media and how it relates to ageism will be helpful in increasing social workers’ knowledge so that they will be prepared to assist older adults and their families with greater success through the end years of older adults’ lives.

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