Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $235,585)
The current project will translate clinical judgments rendered by caseworkers working for the Florida statewide hotline for anonymous reporting of suspected elder abuse and mistreatment, as well as judgments made by the field investigators assigned to subsequent cases, into structured computer-assisted questionnaires that are suitable for face-to-face administration. This process includes focus group interviews with the caseworkers and field investigators to precisely document these practitioners' consensus as to what they need from informants in order to render their clinical judgments regarding abuse and neglect. The researchers will then convert the consensus information into close'ended items in a structured questionnaire, and develop the scoring algorithms that correspond to their consensus clinical judgments.
A pilot test of the questionnaire will be conducted with a convenience sample of approximately 240 to 360 older people. Using strata of age (60-69, 70-79, and 80+), race/ethnicity (African-origin, Asian-origin, Caucasian-Hispanic, and Caucasian-non-Hispanic), and urban-rural, we anticipate 10 to 15 respondents in each of the 24 cells. To reach the goal of 240-360 participants, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) will develop a list of 400 volunteer respondents who have consented to be interviewed. That list will include at least 100 who are abused, 2nd party neglected, or exploited, and 300 non-abused service recipients identified through DOEA's community service providers, i.e., Area Agencies on Aging. The research team will then contact the volunteer participants to schedule interviews.
The consensus clinical judgment algorithms will be applied to the completed questionnaire of each respondent, and a three level categorization (absent, uncertain, present) will be made on each of four components (physical abuse, psychological abused, 2nd party neglect, or exploitation). The researchers will then undertake a criterion validity analysis. Both sensitivity and specificity rates will also be calculated for the survey algorithm against the criterion of clinical judgment for these respondents.
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