The Conceptual and Methodological Characteristics of Ageism During COVID-19: A Scoping Review of Empirical Studies

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Printed and social media, as well as professional and scholarly platforms, have extensively discussed the proliferation of ageism during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, no study has systematically examined the body of knowledge on the topic. Framed around the characteristics of ageism in general, the aim of this review was to identify and characterize the conceptual and methodological underpinnings of the global, peer-reviewed, and empirical literature on ageism during COVID-19. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted a scoping review in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, using PubMed, CINAHL, AgeLine, and PsycINFO. Quantitative and/or qualitative, English-language, and peer-reviewed articles were included. Data were tabulated and synthesized. RESULTS: Thirty six articles examining ageism during the COVID-19 pandemic met inclusion criteria. Most were quantitative (64%) and cross-sectional (81%). The level, correlates, and consequences of ageism during the pandemic were similar to the ones reported before it. Studies about ageism during COVID-19 had similar conceptualization and measurement problems to those before the pandemic. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Empirical studies did not find ageism during COVID-19 to be a unique phenomenon, as suggested by the media. More theoretically sound and methodologically rigorous studies, using longitudinal designs and validated unique measures are needed to examine this unique phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1526-1535
Number of pages10
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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