Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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When prejudice against you hurts others and me: The case of ageism at work

Abstract Ageism in the workplace has documented detrimental consequences for its victims, but its effects on those who hold ageist views are rarely investigated. A cross‐sectional study and a longitudinal study examined ageism toward both younger and older workers and its relation to intergroup contact, work behaviors, organizational identification, and the well‐being of prejudiced individuals. It was hypothesized that ageism would predict prejudiced individuals’ behaviors toward co‐workers, identification with their organization, and vitality at work, indirectly through intergroup anxiety and quality of intergroup contact. Overall, 647 employees aged 24–62 years provided data on the variables of interest. Both studies suggested that ageist views worsened the quality of intergroup contact, which in turn increased counterproductive behaviors toward co‐workers and decreased identification with the organization. Moreover, ageism marginally predicted vitality at work longitudinally through the mediation of quality of intergroup contact. No support emerged for the mediational role of intergroup anxiety. Theoretical explanations for these findings and their practical implications are discussed.

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