Objectives. The present research examined motivational differences across adulthood that might contribute to age-related differences in the willingness to engage in collective action. Two experiments addressed the role of gain and loss orientation for age-related differences in the willingness to engage in collective action across adulthood.
Method. In Experiment 1, N = 169 adults (20–85 years) were confronted with a hypothetical scenario that involved either an impending increase or decrease of health insurance costs for their respective age group. In Experiment 2, N = 231 adults (18–83 years) were asked to list an advantage or disadvantage they perceived in being a member of their age group. Subsequently, participants indicated their willingness to engage in collective action on behalf of their age group.
Results. Both experiments suggest that, with increasing age, people are more willing to engage in collective action when they are confronted with the prospect of loss or a disadvantage.
Discussion. The findings highlight the role of motivational processes for involvement in collective action across adulthood. With increasing age, (anticipated) loss or perceived disadvantages become more important for the willingness to participate in collective action.