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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1986-1987;24(4):241-56.

Is age becoming irrelevant? An exploratory study of perceived age norms.


To check on impressionistic assertions that the United States is becoming an "age-irrelevant society," a quota sample of white-collar and blue-collar men and women (ages eighteen to seventy; N = 462) was studied with a questionnaire that asked for designation of the most suitable ages for various role transitions and age-related attributes. The findings converged with pertinent recent reports from more representative samples. Comparisons with findings in the 1950s indicated loosening of the norms, but with continuing adherence to a prescriptive timetable and with persistent socio-economic differences. These results challenge the notion of age-irrelevance.

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