Emerging Evidence: Ageism and COVID-19, a study of social inequality through opinions and attitudes about older people in the coronavirus crisis in Spain

Álvaro García Soler PhD (Matia Instituto Gerontológico), Penélope Castejón (Matia Instituto Gerontológico), Sara Marsillas PhD (Matia Instituto Gerontológico), Elena del Barrio Truchado (Matia Instituto Gerontológico), Lori Thompson (Matia Fundazioa), Pura Díaz-Veiga (Matia Instituto Gerontológico).

The full report is available here:

Key points:

  • Older people have been most affected by COVID-19. Spain is also one of the countries that has most suffered this impact, especially in nursing homes environments.
  • In the media and in society in general, COVID-19 is being considered as a problem of older people, falling on numerous occasions into ageist approaches.
  • Even with evidence of the existence of an ageism problem in society, not much is known about these stereotypes in relation to the health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • We present research showing the distribution of stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes in a sample of 840 participants that answered an online questionnaire created ad hoc with the aim to explore ageism during the critical period of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain.
  • Our research shows that there were stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes, especially in younger groups pointing out what several authors understand as intergenerational tension.
  • These stereotypes, accepted by society, can have serious effects when discriminatory policies are articulated that affect basic rights, especially autonomy, access to resources, and dignity.

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