Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología
Print version ISSN 0120-0534
WACHELKE, Joao and CONTARELLO, Alberta. Social representations on aging: Structural differences concerning age group and cultural context. rev.latinoam.psicol. [online]. 2010, vol.42, n.3, pp. 367-380. ISSN 0120-0534.
Mainly due to the salience of the world population aging phenomenon, aging and old age are consistently gaining relevance in social life and pointing out to the importance of characterizing the social representations about the topic. After identifying the need of systematic structural research at the level of structural status and basic cognitive scheme activation related to the social representations on aging, two controlled survey studies were conducted to assess the roles of age group and cultural context to differentiate representational structures. Gender was also taken into account. Study 1 had a sample of 80 Italian participants balanced by gender and age group (young and mature). Study 2 had a similar design, comparing the results from the young Italian sample to a group of 40 young Brazilians. Instruments were questionnaires with standard basic cognitive schemes tasks and centrality questionnaires. Log-linear analysis and one-way chi-square tests were employed for data analysis. Results indicated that both, in terms of structural status and scheme activation, the age group and cultural context variables are associated to representational differences, while the role of gender was restricted to peripheral modulations. The study sets foundations for further basic and applied research by providing a baseline structural characterization.
Keywords : social representations; aging; age groups; culture; structural approach.