How older adults are perceived is influenced by their reported exercise status

I. Greenlees, B. Hall, A. Manley, Richard Thelwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nelson (2002) proposed that ageism occurs as a result of the negative perceptions individuals have of older adults. This study examined whether information about an older person’s exercise habits would influence such perceptions. Participants (N = 1,230) from 3 age categories (16–25, 26–55, and 56+ yr) read a description of a 65-year-old man or woman describing 1 of 7 exercise statuses. Participants rated their perceptions of 13 aspects of the target’s personality. A 3-way (Target Exercise Status × Target Gender × Participant Age) MANOVA revealed significant main effects for target exercise status. Non-exercisers were perceived less positively than the control target and the exercising targets. The results suggest that there are self-presentational costs associated with being a nonexerciser at an older age, but few self-presentation benefits accrued to older adults who engage in regular exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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