Date of Award

Winter 1999

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Prejudice and discrimination are pervasive and problematic and affect intergroup relations (Allport, 1954). The purpose of the current research was to expand our understanding of ageist and sexist attitudes. The Pilot Study indicated some of the significant predictors of ageist attitudes among college students. The results of Study I indicated that college students view younger adults as more instrumental than older adults but they do not differentiate between older adults who are 65 to 74 years of age, 75 to 84 years of age, and 85 years or older. Study 2 indicated that intergroup distinctions among younger (17--28 years of age) and older (60--79 years of age) participants rating older or younger male or female targets exist. Differences in the importance of attitude strength variables, self-esteem, and participants' age in the prediction of ageist and sexist attitudes were noted. In addition, in-group bias and in-group homogeneity were demonstrated but no evidence of attitude structure differences based on in-group classification were found. In Study 3, conditions for in-group bias and in-group homogeneity and evidence indicating intergroup difference for physical, cognitive, and personal-expressive attributes were found. The implications of these findings are discussed as they supplement current knowledge of attitudes and stereotypes as well as their relation to the creation of more effective attitude change programs for combating ageism and sexism.