Title page for ETD etd-0519103-152012

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Croghan, Jon M.
Author's Email Address jcrogh1@lsu.edu
URN etd-0519103-152012
Title "You Stupid, Lazy Kid": Perceptions of Verbal Aggressiveness in Older Adults
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Speech Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Loretta L. Pecchioni Committee Chair
Andrew King Committee Member
James M. Honeycutt Committee Member
  • aggressive communication
  • stereotype activation
  • communication accommodation theory
  • social identity theory
Date of Defense 2003-05-07
Availability unrestricted
Young adults' stereotypes of older adults has been well-documented in communication literature, however, there has been a lack of research on the impact of message strategy on intergenerational interactions. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among three factors that previous research suggests should influence the activation of stereotypes toward a target: age, relational level, and message strategy. This study examines the role that message strategy, in this case, verbal aggressiveness, plays in activating young adults' (n = 186) negative stereotypes of older adults. The young adults' self-reported levels of trait verbal aggressiveness was positively correlated with negative stereotype activation. Verbally aggressive messages, also, consistently activated more negative stereotypes than did the corresponding neutral message strategy. Although all three factors (age, relational level, and message strategy) accounted for differences in stereotype activation, message strategy had the largest effect on negative stereotype activation. Implications of the findings on intergenerational interactions are discussed.
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