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National Elder Mistreatment Survey: 5 Year Follow-up of Victims and Matched Non-Victims

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2018
13 pages

This study, which was linked to a previous prevalence study of mistreatment of the elderly, examined a subset of the same participants to measure the effects of elder abuse on victim physical and mental health, as well as victim participation in and satisfaction with the criminal justice system.


The initial study, which provided the sample used in the current study, is the first National Elder Mistreatment Study (NEMS). The current study sought to contact 774 older adults 8 years following their participation in Wave I of the NEMS. Overall, 183 participants (23.6 percent) reported experiencing either emotional (21.1 percent), physical (2.3 percent), sexual (0.4 percent), or neglectful (0.3 percent) since turning 60 years old (elder abuse since age 60) at Wave I. Overall, the study found that NEMS Wave II data indicate that even the effects of past mistreatment were diminished in terms of depression, and were entirely nullified for general anxiety disorder (GAD) and self-reported poor health when current social support was considered. With the exception of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), high social support at Wave II apparently inoculated older adults against negative effects of mistreatment 8 years earlier at Wave I for most outcomes. Victim reporting of elder abuse to police was rare, particularly when perpetrated by family/friends. Victim reporting was especially rare when emotional abuse was involved. This suggests that victims of elder emotional abuse are unaware that it is a type of illegal behavior. No consistent primary reason was evident for failure to report stranger-perpetrated mistreatment. 10 tables and 6 listed project publications

Date Published: August 1, 2018