Ageism and COVID-19, a study of social inequality in Spain

Ageism and COVID-19, a study of social inequality in Spain

With a survey conducted at the end of April 2020, a research team in Spain demonstrated that stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes existed on the ground of age, leading to potential intergenerational tension. By Matia Institute team

The main objective of this research was to measure the extent to which age-based stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes exist across the population in the context of COVID-19. The research followed two main objectives:

  1. To identify stereotypes in relation to the COVID-19 crisis.
  2. To analyse the relationship between age discrimination in the COVID-19 crisis and socio-demographic variables such as age, gender and relationship with older adults during the pandemic.

840 participants responded to an online questionnaire during the last two weeks of April 2020, a critical period of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in Spain. 

The research findings confirm the following:

  • Older people have been most affected by COVID-19. Spain is also one of the countries that has most suffered this impact, especially in nursing homes environments.
  • In the media and in society in general, COVID-19 is being considered as a problem of older people, falling on numerous occasions into ageist approaches.
  • Even with evidence of the existence of an ageism problem in society, not much is known about these stereotypes in relation to the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There were stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes, especially in younger groups, pointing out what several authors understand as intergenerational tension.
  • These stereotypes, accepted by society, can have serious effects when discriminatory policies are articulated that affect basic rights, especially autonomy, access to resources, and dignity.

Download the full research paper here


Read also:

Trying (And Probably Failing) To Make Sense Of Ageism In The Midst Of COVID-19

Younger People and Ageism during Covid-19

Let’s stop playing the Covid-19 generation blame game


The Matia Gerontological Institute pursues the generation of interdisciplinary scientific knowledge to maximise personal autonomy, independence, health and quality of life of the elderly and disabled, as well as that of their caregivers.


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