Intergenerational Programs are a Vaccination Against Ageism and a Prescription for Longevity

You already know that you feel great when you or your child participates in a Bridges or other intergenerational (IG) program. But did you know that there is scientific research to back up the efficacy and importance of the work we do at Bridges Together? One of our researchers, Edward H. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at College of the Holy Cross, has compiled a list of research that suggest that intergenerational (IG) programs are a vaccination against ageism and a prescription for longevity.


A student's picture of a senior citizen before participating in Bridges Together.

A student’s picture of a senior citizen before participating in Bridges Together.

A student's picture of a senior citizen after participating in Bridges Together.

A student’s picture of a senior citizen after participating in Bridges Together.


Intergenerational Programs: A Vaccination Against Ageism

Aday, Ronald H., Cyndee Rice Sims, Wini McDuffie, and Emilie Evans. 1996. Changing children’s attitudes towards the elderly: The longitudinal effects of an intergenerational partners program. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 10: 143–151.

Minichiello, Victor, Jan Browne, and Hal Kendig. 2000. Perceptions and consequences of ageism: Views of older people. Ageing and Society 20: 253-278.

Cummings, Sherry M., Mona M. Williams, and Rodney A. Ellis. 2002. Impact of an intergenerational program on 4th graders’ attitudes toward elders and school behaviors. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 6(3): 91-107.
Meshel, David, S., and Richard P. McGlynn. 2004. Intergenerational contact, attitudes, and stereotypes of adolescence and older people. Educational Gerontology 30: 457-479.

Adair, Melanie, Joe B. Adair, and N. Kortner Nygard. 2008. The Sage Movement: Replacing ageism with sageism. A call for culture change. Walden, TN: Waldenhouse Publishers Inc.

Bodner, Ehud. 2009. On the origins of ageism among older and younger adults. International Psychogeriatrics 21: 1003-1014.

Intergenerational Programs: A Prescription for Longevity

BT_Full_BW_CB_Oct2015Levy, Becca R., Martin D. Slade, Suzanne R. Kunkel, and Stanislav V. Kasl. 2002. Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83: 261-270.

Levy, Becca R. 2009. Stereotype embodiment: A psychosocial approach to aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science 18: 332–336.

Kotter-Grühn, Dana, Anna Kleinspehn-Ammerlahn, Denis Gerstorf, and Jacqui Smith. 2009. Self-perceptions of aging predict mortality and change with approaching death: 16-year longitudinal results from the Berlin Aging Study. Psychology and Aging 24: 654–667.

Thompson, Edward H. Thompson, Jr., PhD and Andrea J. Weaver, MA. 2015. Making connections: The legacy of an intergenerational programThe Gerontologist. 2015, 1-11.

Xaverius, Pamela k., and R. Mark Mathews. 2004. Evaluating the impact of intergenerational activities on elders’ engagement and expressiveness levels in two settings. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships 1(4): 53-69.

Sargent-Cox, Kerry A., Kaarin J. Anstey, and Mary A. Luszcz. 2012. The relationship between change in self-perceptions of aging and physical functioning in older adults. Psychology and Aging 27: 750-760.

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