ageism, career-change, career-transition, older workers, older job applicants


The purpose of the current study was to examine whether older job applicants are discriminated against relative to younger job applicants when changing careers, and to investigate whether an intervention designed to reduce stereotyping and prejudice could alleviate such unfair discrimination, if it was found. A between-subjects laboratory experiment with three factors was conducted, including age (young vs. old job applicant), career-transition type (within- vs. between-career transition), and a dual-identity based recategorization intervention (control vs. intervention), totaling 8 experimental conditions. Data were collected and analyzed from 157 undergraduate student participants. Participants were informed that they would be evaluating the viability of using video-resumes as a potential organizational selection tool, and were randomly assigned to watch a video-resume depicting a White male job applicant applying for the job of mechanical engineer. The job applicant was either younger or older and was either making a career change that was more similar to his previous career (i.e., naval architect) or less similar to his previous career (i.e., chiropractor). In the intervention conditions, the job applicant emphasized his age and the fact that he graduated from UCF; in the control conditions, he only emphasized his age and his educational background from a generic university. An actor in his early twenties played the role of the job applicant. Make-up was applied to age his face, and computer software was used to age his voice. After viewing the video-resumes, participants judged his suitability for hire, competence, warmth, loyalty, and suitability for training. A Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) was conducted and a significant 3-way interaction was found between age, career-transition type, and intervention on both ratings of suitability for hire and on competence ratings. Counter to theory, the older job applicant was negatively impacted relative to the younger applicant when attempting to build a common ingroup identity with the younger decision-maker. These findings were discussed within the context of theories on attribution and impression management, and discussed relative to prior research utilizing the dual-identity based recategorization intervention method. Implications for older workers making career transitions are discussed.


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Graduation Date



Fritzsche, Barbara


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

July 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Psychology Commons