More TV means more negative views of age

A survey finds U.S. senior citizens who watch more television tend to have more negative views of old age.

But the study by researchers at Yale University also found that when they kept diaries of their television viewing impressions the elderly become more conscious of how they are stereotyped by TV shows.

"These findings suggest that the promotion of awareness could provide a means of helping elders confront ageism," said Becca Levy, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale medical school and lead author of the study.

Participants in the study were between 60 and 92. They were randomly assigned to two groups.

Both groups were asked to keep a diary of their TV viewing for a week, and one group was also asked to fill out an additional page each day on how older characters were portrayed in shows they watched that day.

Researchers found that the second group were far more aware of how the elderly are portrayed, including a shortage of older characters and the tendency to make older characters the butt of jokes.

The study was published in the Journal of Social Issues.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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