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Jaye Atkinson

Associate Professor    Associate Professor and Associate Chair    

Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1996


Communication and Aging


Jaye L. Atkinson’s research focuses on the intersection of communication and stereotypes of older adults. Some of her research analyzes how communication perpetuates/negates stereotypes (e.g., the phrase “senior moment”), and in other research, she examines how stereotypes influence how people speak to older adults.

Dr. Atkinson’s most recent publications seek to understand the intersection of communication and age stereotypes in the field of sport communication. One article reveals how Andre Agassi’s age (and associated stereotype) is reported in the New York Times across 15 years of athletic competition. In another article, she argues for the importance of including age in the analyses of other sport communication studies.  Dr. Atkinson is currently working on a project exploring beliefs about aging, beliefs about diabetes, diabetes management, and spousal support. These projects build on past research she has conducted identifying stereotypes of older adults, examining patronizing speech toward older adults, understanding the impact of self-disclosure by older adults, and revealing how older adults are portrayed in the media (in blockbuster hit movies and in Disney animated films).

Her research appears in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Journal of Aging Studies, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Discourse Processes, Human Communication Research, Psychology and Aging, Research on Aging, Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, and Communication Studies.  Dr. Atkinson has also served as chair of the NCA Communication and Aging Division.  She has received two internal grants from GSU (2006-2007 GSU Research Equipment Grant and 2005-2006 Research Initiation Grant).  Dr. Atkinson was the 2006 recipient of the Gerontology Institute’s Distinguished Faculty Award, given in part for her leadership in developing its new M.A. graduate program.


Atkinson, J.L., & Herro, S.K. (2010). “From the chartreuse kid to the wise old gnome of tennis: Age stereotypes as frames to describe Andre Agassi at the U.S. Open.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 34, 86-104.

Atkinson, J.L. (2009). “Age Matters in Sport Communication”. Electronic Journal of Communication, 19 (3&4).

Hummert, M.L., Garstka, T.A., Ryan, E.B., & Bonnesen, J.L. (2004). “The role of age stereotypes in interpersonal communication.” In J.F. Nussbaum, & J. Coupland (Eds.) Handbook of communication and aging research (2nd Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Bonnesen, J.L., & Burgess, E.O. (2004). “Senior moments”: An analysis of an ageist attribution. The Journal of Aging Studies, 18, 123-142.

Bonnesen, J.L. & Hummert, M.L. (2002). “Painful self-disclosures of older adults in relation to aging stereotypes and perceived motivation.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 21, 275-301.

Lin, M.C., Harwood, J., & Bonnesen, J.L. (2002). “Conversation topics and communication satisfaction in grandparent-grandchild relationships.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 21, 302-323.