Type of Content: Research

Subtype: Journal Article

Resource Title: Implications of Generational and Age Metastereotypes for Older Adults at Work: The Role of Agency, Stereotype Threat, and Job Search Self-efficacy

Publication Title: Work, Aging and Retirement 6(1), 15-27

Publish Date: January 2020

This study explored how age compared with generational metastereotypes (i.e., what people think other people believe about their age group/generation) affect older adults’ sense of agency and stereotype threat and, consequently, their job search self-efficacy. We conducted an experiment including N = 183 participants between 50 and 79 years of age, asking respondents to think about either age or generational metastereotypes. We then explored the extent to which these metastereotypes influenced participants’ job search self-efficacy through perceptions of agency and age-based stereotype threat. First, results demonstrate that the impact of age compared with generational metastereotypes on perceived agency and age-based stereotype threat was moderated by respondent age, such that effects were only significant for older adults (60–79 years) but not middle-aged adults (50–59 years). Second, among older adults, perceptions of agency and stereotype threat mediated the effect of metastereotypes on job search self-efficacy. Our results suggest that encouraging older adults to identify with their generational membership in contrast to their age may positively influence perceptions of their ability to find a job and ultimately their actual job search behaviors.

Implications of Generational and Age Metastereotypes for Older Adults at Work: The Role of Agency, Stereotype Threat, and Job Search Self-efficacy