Middle Age Has Been Postponed for 9 Years; GOOD NEWS ONE.

Daily Mail (London), September 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

Middle Age Has Been Postponed for 9 Years; GOOD NEWS ONE.


Byline: FIONA MACRAE

TURNING 40 has traditionally been an occasion for rather muted celebrations.

After all, the landmark birthday means waving goodbye to youth.

In fact, research shows, we have been granted an extension - as the majority of us don't regard ourselves as middleaged until we're 49.

We had better make the most of it, however, as old age is just 16 years down the line.

According to a study by the University of Kent, most people believe their youth lasts until they are 49 and old age starts at 65.

The findings are likely to be embraced by such party-loving 40-year-olds as Elizabeth Hurley.

But 49-year-olds such as Kim Cattrall and Mel Gibson may be less cheered by the spectre of old age just around the corner.

Researchers also found that women are more reluctant to let go of their youth than men.

They believe they become middle-aged five years after men and are also three years behind at entering old age.

In the working world, most people would prefer an older boss - but few have time for aging employees.

Social psychologist Professor Dominic Abrams found that ageism is the most common sort of prejudice in the UK.

Older people - those in their 70s and above - are typically seen as being incompetent, while those under 30 are stereotyped as unfriendly. Only during the brief period of middle age do people escape the worst effects of such stereotyping.

He said: 'Age prejudice seems to be ubiquitous in British society. Older people are always seen as friendlier than younger people. Younger people are always seen as more competent and more capable than older people.

'Older people are seen as doddery and dear and younger people are perceived as clever but callous. More youthful is more useful.

'The most comfortable period seems to be middle age, where there is significantly less prejudice.' The study, commissioned by Age Concern, looked at how almost 2,000 people perceive prejudice.

More than four in ten said they had experienced some sort of prejudice in the past year, with the most common problem being ageism. …

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