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06.02.2019 | Reviews

Individual consequences of age stereotypes on older workers

A systematic review

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
Jeannette Weber, Peter Angerer, Andreas Müller



The relevance of work participation of older persons is steadily increasing due to demographic changes; however, older workers are often confronted with negative age stereotypes such as being less flexible, adaptable and productive.


Against this background this systematic review summarizes research evidence on individual consequences of age stereotypes on older workers. It further discusses potential processes behind those relationships and gives suggestions for future research and practice.

Material and methods

A systematic literature search was conducted in PsycINFO, Web of Science and Medline to identify relevant studies examining individual effects of age stereotypes on older workers. In addition, all included studies were evaluated with a standardized quality assessment tool.


A total of 25 studies could be included in this review; however, none of those studies met all quality criteria. Most studies found significant associations between negative age stereotypes and decreased self-efficacy, job satisfaction, performance as well as learning, development or increased retirement intentions of older employees.


The results of this review indicate a number of negative consequences that negative age stereotypes have on older workers and also serious flaws in the study quality of existing research. It thereby stresses the importance of more high-quality research but also the reduction of those age stereotypes to promote well-being and work participation of older persons.

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