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J Elder Abuse Negl. 2008;20(1):25-41. doi: 10.1300/J084v20n01_02.

Depression and elder abuse and neglect among a community-dwelling Chinese elderly population.

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  • 1Section of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, 710 South Paulina Street, Suite 423, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Our recent survey of an elderly cohort in mainland China suggests that elder abuse and neglect are common. Unfortunately, there is minimal knowledge about the risk factors for elder abuse and neglect among this population. We aimed to examine depression as a risk factor for elder abuse and neglect among Chinese elderly. A cross-sectional study was performed in a major urban medical center in NanJing, China. Depression was assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale and direct questions were asked regarding abuse and neglect experienced by the elderly since the age of 60; 412 patients completed the survey. The mean age of the participants was 70 and 34% were female. Depression was found in 12% of the participants and elder abuse and neglect was found in 35% of the participants. After multiple logistical regression, feeling of dissatisfaction with life (OR, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.51-5.68, p < 0.001), often being bored (OR, 2.91; CI, 1.53-5.55, p < 0.001), often feeling helpless (OR, 2.79; CI, 1.35-5.76, p < 0.001), and feeling worthless (OR, 2.16; CI, 1.10-4.22, p < 0.001) were associated with increased risk of elder abuse and neglect. Multiple logistic regression modeling showed that depression is independently associated with elder abuse and neglect (OR, 3.26; CI, 1.49-7.10, p < 0.003). These findings suggest that depression is a significant risk factor associated with elder abuse and neglect among Chinese elderly.

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