Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

John Schmit

Second Advisor

Tom Morgan


Using a cross-disciplinary approach, this paper provides an important connection between elderspeak and identity subversion. Elderspeak, sometimes referred to as secondary baby talk, is a modified speech pattern marked by increased volume, simplified syntax, diminutives, collective pronouns, and terms of endearment. It subverts identity by negating ltfe experience and the individuality of an elder. Research has found that elderspeak can lead to a diminished sense of self, yet it is a significant part of the speech environment for elders in institutions that are designed to provide care. For leadership in the growing field of elder services the use of elderspeak can undermine on organization's mission by re-enforcing ageist stereotypes, creating a social divide, and breaking down communication between generations.


SC 11.MAL.2015.Crawford.PL