Ageing in American Comic Strips: 1972-1992

Document Type


Publication Date



A comparison between humour and ageing from the 1970s to the 1990s and fndings from a historical study of how American artists portray older adults showed what appears to be little change in stereotypical representations of older people in one of the most widely read forms of humour in American popular culture, the comic strip. Variables were age, gender, and roles of people 56 years and over in strips published in the Washington Post during April of 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992.

The number of older characters in American comic strips declined in the last ten years of the study. Men were more frequently represented than women. Women were almost equal to men in strong, positive roles despite the fact that they were represented 870 times and men 1511 times. Most women were portrayed in either positive or negative roles while a quarter of men were portrayed in indeterminate roles. The negative roles of women were double those of positive or strong roles, while the number of negative roles for men was three times the number of positive roles.

This document is currently not available here.