Elder Abuse

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Elder abuse is often invisible. There are many reasons for this, including potential legal consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator which may affect their motivation to report the problem. Elderly persons competent to report their victimization are often ashamed or fearful of other potential consequences, including recrimination and the potential negative consequences for the perpetrator, who is typically a family member. The private setting in which abuse occurs further limits its detection. In recent years, a few widely publicized cases occurring in nursing homes have alerted and alarmed the public to this problem. While these accounts have served to raise interest in elder abuse, recent evidence suggests that abuse occurs etc. more frequently in private homes than in institutions. In this entry, we will describe dominant theoretical explanations for elder abuse. We will then summarize findings regarding risk factors associated with abuse. Drawing from the limited empirical literature we will then describe potentially effective primary prevention strategies for physical and psychological mistreatment.



Publication Title

Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion