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J Interpers Violence. 2011 Jul;26(11):2321-32. doi: 10.1177/0886260510383037. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Elder mistreatment and emotional symptoms among older adults in a largely rural population: the South Carolina elder mistreatment study.

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  • 1National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center,Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina,67 President Street—2 South, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Although two recent major studies provide some insight into the prevalence and correlates of elder mistreatment, the relationship between elder mistreatment and mental health remains unclear. This study begins to address this issue by examining the relationship between elder mistreatment (i.e., a recent history of emotional and physical abuse) and negative emotional symptoms (e.g., anxiety and depression) among 902 older adults aged 60 and above residing in South Carolina. Results demonstrate that emotional, but not physical, abuse is significantly correlated with higher levels of emotional symptoms. This relationship is sustained when controlling for established demographic and social/dependency risk factors. These data suggest that mistreated older adults also suffer from greater emotional symptoms and highlight the need for more research in this area.

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