Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Prawitz, Aimee D.

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences


A survey was administered to 488 students in the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences to assess perceptions of the portrayal of older adults in magazine advertisements featured during 1978 and 1998. The instrument consisted of eighteen color advertisements from 1978 and 1998 issues of nine popular magazines. Using a semantic differential scale, students rated each advertisement on six pairs of adjectives: passive lifestyle/active lifestyle, foolish/wise, independent/dependent, happy/unhappy, sickly/healthy, attractive/unattractive. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) tested for differences in perceptions of the portrayal of older adult models in 1978 and 1998 advertisements. Overall, 1978 models were portrayed more positively. Specifically, models in 1998 advertisements were perceived to be more independent, happy, and attractive than 1978 models, while those in 1978 advertisements were rated as more wise, healthy, active, and more positive overall than 1998 models.


Includes bibliographical references.


19 pages, 28 unnumbered pages




Northern Illinois University

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