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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2017 Mar 6. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbx005. [Epub ahead of print]

Varying Appraisals of Elder Mistreatment Among Victims: Findings from a Population-Based Study.

Author information

1
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work,University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2
Weill Cornell Medical College,Cornell University, New York City.
3
School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University,Richmond.
4
Department of Human Development, Cornell University,Ithaca, New York.

Abstract

Objectives:

Prior elder mistreatment (EM) research has not examined subjective assessments of problem seriousness from the perspective of victims. This study sought to describe the variation in appraisals of perceived EM seriousness among victims of emotional abuse, physical abuse, and neglect and to examine factors that influence varying appraisals using neutralization theory.

Methods:

Data came from a subsample of EM victims (n = 191) drawn from a representative, population-based study (n = 4,156) of community-dwelling, cognitively intact older adults in New York State. The Conflict Tactics Scale and Duke Older Americans Resources and Services scales were adapted to assess EM. Subjective appraisal of abuse/neglect was measured according to ordinal levels of victim-perceived seriousness and predicted using ordinal regression.

Results:

Emotional abuse was appraised less seriously among victims who were both functionally impaired and dependent upon the perpetrator, lived with the perpetrator, and of increasing age. Emotional abuse was perceived with greater seriousness among victims enduring more frequent/varied abuse and when the perpetrator was distally-related. Neglect was appraised with lower seriousness among female victims and greater seriousness if perpetrated by a paid homecare attendant or in scenarios involving more frequent/varied unmet needs.

Discussion:

Findings carry implications for understanding victim help-seeking behavior and informing EM measurement.

KEYWORDS:

Abuse; Neglect; Neutralization Theory; Seriousness; Subjective Perception

PMID:
28329861
DOI:
10.1093/geronb/gbx005

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