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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOCIAL ATTITUDES TOWARD AGING AND THE DELINQUENCIES OF YOUTH
MAURICE E. LINDEN
Am J Psychiatry 1957;114:444-448.
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Director, Div. of Mental Health, City Hall Annex, Philadelphia 7, Pa.

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Abstract

In the awesome network of social forces that relate to character and behavior distortion the hypothetical factor herein presented concerns itself with but one thread, perhaps a guyline. There seems to be a commonsense logic in the viewpoint that degradation of the elder role-model of social authority is paralleled by an increase in arrogance and wilfulness in the young.The fact remains that aging in our culture is generally unattractive and unrewarding. A newspaper supplement recently stated the case succinctly, "the world is made for youth and youth is the time for fun." Can we expect the young to make provident and prudent psychological preparations for the advancing years, when the later period is so often seen in threatening aspect.Desirable character formation in the young requires that the group character of a culture present a social atmosphere of dignified elderhood in which symbolic authority is implicit, an authority enriched with warmth, humanism, and charity, yet firm in its leadership, independently motivated, and oriented around group principles.Nature has endowed youth heavily with a capacity to achieve its own rewards. Aging needs social support. If the rewards of youth are to be wisely invested to insure that lives are well spent, then the elders must be reinstated in their time-honored position as brokers in experience and consultants in living.

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aging ; attitude
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