Poles Apart: The Processing and Consequences of Mixed Media Stereotypes of Older Workers

Anne C. Kroon*, Martine van Selm, Claartje L. ter Hoeven, Rens Vliegenthart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This study uses the Stereotype Content Model to examine how mixed-media stereotypes about older workers affect the implicit activation and application of competence and warmth stereotypes among employees. By means of a 2 × 2 experiment, we show that a newspaper article portraying older workers in a stereotypical manner (i.e., high rather than low in warmth, low rather than high in competence) inhibits and evokes negative employability perceptions, resulting in a net negative effect on intentions to hire an older worker. Findings indicate that mixed-media portrayals have stronger effects on implicit stereotype activation compared to stereotype application. We propose a tailored media-based stereotype reduction strategy, whereby the negative component of older workers' stereotypes is replaced by stereotype-disconfirming information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-833
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Employability
  • Mixed Stereotypes
  • Older Workers
  • Stereotype Activation and Application
  • Stereotype Content Model
  • Warmth and Competence


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