The relationship between age, gender, historical change, and adults' perceptions of mental health and mental health services

James Currin, Bert Hayslip, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of age, historical change, and gender on perceptions of mental health and mental health services. Using multidimensional measures to assess such perceptions among older adults (1977, 1991, 2000), and younger adults (1991, 2000), we expected that older adults would have less positive mental health perceptions than would younger adults, that more recently born cohorts of older persons would evidence more positive perceptions, and that women, especially those more recently assessed, would also evidence more positive perceptions. To an extent, we found positive historical shifts in mental health perceptions, though data also indicated that such views may have stabilized over the last decade for older persons, and interacted with age and gender in this respect. Age differences favoring younger persons were, in part, replicated across historical time, and women held more positive mental health perceptions than did men. Over historical time, older persons' mental health perceptions are, for the most part, increasingly positive, significant in light of the increasing proportion of older persons and changes in the mental health system itself. Our data suggest that efforts to reach older men should be given high priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-341
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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