Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2011 Mar;66(2):217-29. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbq096. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

Mistreatment and psychological well-being among older adults: exploring the role of psychosocial resources and deficits.

Author information

  • 1Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.



To examine the relationships between psychosocial resources and deficits, elder mistreatment, and psychological well-being.


We used a representative sample of 2,744 older adults aged 57-85 years in the United States from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. We examined reports of any mistreatment (verbal, financial, or physical) and multiple types of mistreatment.


Lower levels of positive support, higher levels of criticism from close relationships, and feelings of social isolation are positively associated with self-reported mistreatment experience. As suggested by the stress process theory, those who reported mistreatment experience also reported lower levels of global happiness and higher levels of psychological distress. There is also some evidence for the buffering hypothesis--levels of global happiness are higher and levels of psychological distress are lower for older adults who reported any mistreatment if they also reported more positive social support, social participation, and feelings of social connection.


Older adults with fewer psychosocial resources or more psychosocial deficits seem to be more vulnerable to mistreatment, and mistreatment seems particularly detrimental to psychological well-being for these people.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Grant Support

Publication Types

MeSH Terms

Grant Support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk