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Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia

versão impressa ISSN 1809-9823


SANTOS, Verônica Braga dos; TURA, Luiz Fernando Rangel  e  ARRUDA, Angela Maria Silva. Social Representations of elderly built by teenagers. Rev. Bras. Geriatr. Gerontol. [online]. 2011, vol.14, n.3, pp. 497-509. ISSN 1809-9823.

Population aging is an important phenomenon in the world, with impact on the social dynamics, allowing for the existence of social representations which give sense and guide social groups concerning human aging. This study focused on the social representations of Old person built by teenagers, analyzing their structure and organization. Based on a structural approach, a test was conducted to freely evoke words related to the expression "old person" and a questionnaire was given to elicit answers regarding beliefs, attitudes, rules, values and practices related to the aging process and to the elderly and their socio-demographic characterization. Took part in the study 137 high school sophomores from a federal institution in Rio de Janeiro, ages 15 to 19 (average 16.19 years old), mostly male (65.44%). The elements which stood out as central were: Grandparent, Elderly and Experience. The peripheral system was composed of: Wisdom, Grey Hair, Respect, Wrinkles, Retired, Disease, Characters, Knowledge, Cane, Ancient, Medicine, Difficulties, Death, Worn-out, Nice, Glasses, Father-Mother-Aunt, Time and the intermediary system was composed of: Age, Annoying, Gratuities and Madam. The main representation organizers were Grandparent and Elderly, which suggest the existence of two focuses of meanings given to the old person. The elements related to Grandparent offer concreteness to the image of old person. And those associated to Elderly add meanings related to a normative construction of the Elderly category, which brings about respect and value, in opposition to a negative or belittling connotation associated to the term "old". The study may provide support for the development of health policies, serving as guide for measures taken in favor of the elderly and aspects of human aging.

Palavras-chave : Old Person; Social Representations; Aging; Teenagers; Health of the Elderly; Quality of Life.

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