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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Jul;60(7):1333-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04025.x. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Determining prevalence and correlates of elder abuse using promotores: low-income immigrant Latinos report high rates of abuse and neglect.

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Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA.


Low-income Latino immigrants are understudied in elder abuse research. Limited English proficiency, economic insecurity, neighborhood seclusion, a tradition of resolving conflicts within the family, and mistrust of authorities may impede survey research and suppress abuse reporting. To overcome these barriers, promotores, local Spanish-speaking Latinos, were recruited and trained to interview a sample of Latino adults aged 66 and older residing in low-income communities. The promotores conducted door-to-door interviews in randomly selected census tracts in Los Angeles to assess the frequency of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse; financial exploitation; and caregiver neglect. Overall, 40.4% of elderly Latino adults had experienced some form of abuse or neglect within the previous year. Nearly 25% reported psychological abuse, 10.7% physical assault, 9% sexual abuse, and 16.7% financial exploitation, and 11.7% were neglected by their caregivers. Younger age, higher education, and experiencing sexual or physical abuse before age 65 were significant risk factors for psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Years lived in the United States, younger age, and prior abuse were associated with greater risk of financial exploitation. Years spent living in the United States was a significant risk factor for caregiver neglect. Abuse prevalence was much higher in all mistreatment domains than findings from previous research on community-dwelling elderly adults, suggesting that low-income Latino immigrants are highly vulnerable to elder mistreatment or that respondents are more willing to disclose abuse to promotores who represent their culture and community.

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