Portrayals of older adults in U.S. and Indian magazine advertisements: A cross-cultural comparison

Priya Raman, Jake Harwood, Deborah Weis, Judith L. Anderson, Grace Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The authors investigated cross-cultural media portrayals of older adults and other age groups across the lifespan through a content analysis of U.S. and Indian magazine advertisements (N=1,464), focusing on the characters portrayed in these advertisements (N=1,445). Forty U.S. and Indian magazines were randomly selected across genres such as sports, women's interest, news, general interest, and entertainment magazines. The authors examined the association of age of characters with product advertised, health and gender of characters, and relational context of portrayals. Results indicated that older adults as well as children and teens were underrepresented in both cultures. Overall, women were overrepresented in younger age groups and underrepresented in older age groups, with this pattern being stronger in India. Indian advertisements portrayed characters in spousal relationships significantly more than U.S. advertisements. References to aging and older adulthood were more common in U.S. advertisements, as were overall associations between ill health and older adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Aging
  • Cross-cultural
  • India
  • Magazine advertisements
  • Media
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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