Idealization of youthfulness predicts worse recovery among older individuals.

This study examined whether stereotypes about an out-group could influence physical health. It had been previously shown that positive stereotypes held by older individuals about their in-group benefited physical health. However, the potential impact on physical health from idealizing their out-group, the young, through positive stereotypes had not been studied. The cohort consisted of 189 participants, aged 60 and older, who experienced a cardiovascular event: a myocardial infarction (MI). Participants reported their stereotypes about the young and the old at baseline. Their MI recovery was assessed with a physical-performance battery that was administered at 4 time points across 1 year following the event. As hypothesized, positive stereotypes about the young predicted significantly worse recovery and positive stereotypes about the old predicted significantly better recovery, after adjusting for relevant covariates. Considering out-group idealization as a risk factor could provide an innovative research and clinical tool. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)