Comparing Effects of Ageism on Self-Portrait Expressions of Self-Worth with the Older Adult Population

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Medford, Kathryn
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
By providing individuals of the older adult population with a non-verbal expressive opportunity, it is hypothesized that expression of social prejudice might more easily be expressed. Older individuals have more to contribute to society than the stereotypical views that the particular age range may indicate. Societal views on these individual’s chronological age and not their capabilities promotes prejudicial outlooks such as ageism. This research seeks to test the hypothesis that actions of ageism negatively affect the self-worth and self-perception of older adult individuals. In this study the older adult participants were asked to complete two specific self-portraits, one of how the individual perceives him or herself and one of how the individual believes society perceives him or herself due to chronological age. Results are summarized showing a need for increased awareness of the effects of ageism on the perceptions of the older adult population in order to increase personal self-worth.