Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $700,780)
The overall aim of this project is to assess the prevalence and one year incidence of elder mistreatment, defined generally by the National Research Council publication: Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America (2003) as physical, sexual, emotional, neglectful, or financial mistreatment of (a) an elderly person with diminished capacity for self care or self protection; and (b) by someone in a position of trust. The Project Director of this proposal is the author of the assessment methodology chapter in the aforementioned NRC 2003 publication, and has completed a National Institute on Aging feasibility study on elder mistreatment that informs the present application.
The older adult population is growing faster than other age groups, yet research into the expanding problem of elder abuse has lagged behind other fields (e.g., domestic violence and child abuse). Documenting the one year incidence and prevalence of elder abuse, as well as identifying the risk and protective factors that increase or decrease, respectively, the likelihood of its occurrence, are the first and essential steps in addressing this problem. Only after research into the scope and character of elder abuse is accomplished can policy be developed and interventions implemented with those individuals most in need. The current application, therefore, proposes to use a multimethod assessment strategy with a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 4000 older adults age 60 and over (with little or no cognitive impairment) and 500 caregivers (of cognitively impaired elders) (total: 4,500 households), to assess yearly incidence & lifetime prevalence of all forms of elder mistreatment, as well as risk and protective factors in both cognitively intact elders, and elders suffering from dementia.