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Title: Intergenerational Potential: Effects of Social Interaction Between Older Adults and Adolescents

Author (s):  Eva-Marie Kessler, Ursula Staudinger

Abstract:  The present study aimed to investigate the potentially facilitative effect of the interaction between older adults and adolescents. For older adults, the interaction was expected to compensate for age-related deficits (e.g., cognitive performance, cognitive-affective complexity). In case of the adolescents, an optimization of development was expected (e.g., prosocial behavior, communion goals). Ninety older women (70–74 years) and 90 adolescent girls (14–15 years) were randomly assigned to 3 experimental conditions. In each of the conditions, nonfamiliar dyads collaborated on 1 task. The conditions varied according to the age composition and the type of contextual demand (high vs. low support of generativity [older adults] and identity formation [adolescents]). Individual performance measures were assessed immediately after the interaction. As expected, intergenerational settings characterized by high support of generativity and identity formation resulted in more prosocial behavior in adolescents. Furthermore, the results lent partial support to the hypothesis that in older adults, this setting facilitated higher complexity of emotion regulation as well as higher levels of performance in measures of speed and word fluency.

Category: Theory & Practice

Keywords: collaboration, generativity, identity formation, intergenerational relationships, interactive minds, older adults, adolescents

Reference: Kessler, E.M. and Staudinger, U.M.  (2007). Intergenerational Potential: Effects of Social Interaction Between Older Adults and Adolescents. Psychology and Aging 2007,  22(4): 690–704.

Peer-reviewed journal: yes

Link to Full Texthttp://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pag/22/4/690/

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