Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

A Survey of Women's Social Representations of Aging and Rejuvenation

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

A Survey of Women's Social Representations of Aging and Rejuvenation

Article excerpt

The goal of this work was to analyze the social representations that women of three different age groups had about aging, rejuvenating, and methods of rejuvenation. The research was performed in São Paulo between 2004 and 2005. The participants of this research were three groups of women of different ages: 19 to 24 years, 25 to 35 years, and over 60 years. The data were collected by the focus group technique. Data was analyzed using the lexical analysis software ALCESTE 4.5. The main results show a social representation of aging centered on losses and gains. The subjects appraised the possibility of using rejuvenating methods only when it was extremely necessary, because of the health risks that most of them involve. The three groups agreed about natural methods of rejuvenating instead of resorting to invasive methods.

Keywords: social representations, aging, rejuvenating, technology

El propósito de este trabajo fué analizar las representaciones sociales de tres grupos de mujeres de diferentes edades acerca del envejecimiento, el rejuvenecimiento y los métodos de rejuvenecimiento. La investigación se llevó a cabo en São Paulo entre 2004 y 2005. Las participantes de la investigación eran tres grupos de mujeres de diferentes edades: 19 a 24 años, 25 a 35 años, y mayores de 60 años. Los datos se recogieron con la técnica del grupo focal Se analizaron empleando el software de análisis lexical ALCESTE 4.5. Los resultados principales revelan una representación social del envejecimiento centrada en pérdidas y ganancias. Las participantes consideraban la posibilidad de usar métodos de rejuvenecimiento sólo cuando era de máxima necesidad, debido a los riesgos de salud que la mayoría de ellos implican. Los tres grupos estaban de acuerdo en el uso de los métodos naturales de rejuvenecimiento en vez de recurrir a métodos invasivos.

Palabras clave: representaciones sociales, envejecimiento, rejuvenecimiento, tecnología

The present article represents part of the results from a more extensive research project focused on the study of social representation of science and technology and the dissemination of scientific data to the rejuvenation industry. The subject of this article-aging, rejuvenation, and science and technology in the rejuvenation industry-was approached with two methods: interrogative methods (focus group technique) and associative methods (free word association and successive hierarchical triage tests). Only the results related to the results from the focus group technique are discussed in this article.

Sá (1998, p. 17) criticized the excessive enthusiasm in the approach to social representation in studies of diverse subjects. It has become obvious that, to achieve a psychosociological understanding of a phenomenon in the consensual universe, it must also be studied in the universe informed by scientific practice. We will review some of this data related to the topic of the research project.

According to Kalache, Veras, and Ramos (1987), in 1960, more than half of the people over 65 lived in third world or in developing countries. Demographic data indicate that, from 1980 to the end of the 20th century, nearly three quarters of the increase in the aged population occurred in third world or in developing countries. The group of senior citizens was the age group that increased the most in less developed countries. In South America alone, between 1980 and 2000, an increase of 120% of the total population (from 363.7 to 803.6 million) was observed. The increase in the population of people over 60 years old was 236% (from 23.3 to 78.2 million), that is, more than double the percentage of the increase in the population as a whole. In Brazil, specifically, the population of senior citizens will increase about 15 times between 1950 and 2025, whereas that of the population as a whole will increase no more than 5 times in the same period. By 2025, this increase will mean that 1/6 of the population of senior citizens of the entire world, in absolute terms, will live in Brazil. …

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