Evaluation of infantilizing speech in a rehabilitation setting: Relation to age

Rachel Whitmer, Susan Krauss Whitbourne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to assess whether reactions to infantilizing speech and content are a function of age when levels of dependence within an institutional environment are controlled. Ten individuals below the age of sixty-five were compared with ten above age sixty-five. Respondents were given two sets of materials designed to produce comparative ratings of adult and infantilized speech content and intonation. The over sixty-five age group did not detect a difference between adult and infantilizing content. The under sixty-five age group reacted more negatively to infantilizing content than did the older group. Independence scores were not significantly correlated with either set of speech ratings, or to age. The difference between older and younger adults with the same level of functional impairment supports the empirical literature that infantilization is due in part to stereotyped expectations regarding the aged as more dependent and hence in need of childlike treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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