Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

J. James Cotter


The purpose of this study was to explore how stereotypes affect physical performance in older adults. A multigroup pretest post test design was utilized to determine whether implicit activation of positive or negative stereotypes has an effect on physical performance. Ninety six community dwelling older adults 65 years of age or older were included in the sample. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: exposure to positive stereotypes of aging, exposure to negative stereotypes of aging, or a control condition. In order to simulate how older adults are exposed to stereotypes in real world settings, participants were primed with objects representing aging stereotypes. Gait speed, standing balance, and lower extremity muscle performance were tested before and after exposure to stereotypes. Results of MANCOVA analysis, using self-relevance as a covariate, revealed no significant differences between those exposed to positive stereotypes, negative stereotypes, or the neutral condition. Physical performance is not affected by exposure to implicit stereotypes of aging in a more real world setting. In real world settings, there are multiple factors, like motivation and self-focus, competing for the control of behavior which are not present in the lab. These psychosocial factors may lessen the effect of stereotype activation on physical performance


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2010


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