Effects of Alzheimer's Diagnosis and Gender on Ageist Attitudes, Aging Anxiety, and Emotional Reactions to Older Adults. By: Caskie, Grace I L; Bashian, Hannah M and Voelkner, Abigail R. 2024. Gerontologist. Vol. 64 Issue 4, p1-8.

Background and Objectives We investigated whether ageist attitudes, aging anxiety, and emotional reactions to older adults differ based on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) diagnosis, older adult gender, and participant gender, as well as their interactions. Research Design and Methods Using an experimental design, 291 participants (176 men, 115 women; 19–55 years) were randomly assigned to read 1 of 4 descriptions of an older adult that varied cognitive health and gender. Measures of ageist attitudes, aging anxiety, and emotional reactions to the older adult were completed online. Results Relative to a cognitively intact older adult, an older adult with AD evoked less ageist attitudes, less aging anxiety, more compassion, and less emotional distance. A significant interaction between older adult gender and participant gender indicated women felt greater emotional distance from an older adult man than an older adult woman, while men showed no significant difference. Discussion and Implications The more positive emotions and less ageist responses to an older adult with AD could present as paternalistic and diminish older adults’ agency. Women may prioritize shared gender identity over age, which has implications for caregivers and health professionals working with older adults.