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National Crime Victims Center > Grants & Publications > current_grant_abstracts > Elder Mistreatment

Elder Mistreatment: Demonstration Methodology

Principal Investigator: Ronald Acierno, Ph.D.  <bio sketch>  <e-mail>
Funding Source:  National Institute of Health/ National Institute of Aging (NIH/NIA)
Dates of Project:  09/01/2007 - 06/30/2011

The overall aim of this developmental research project is to demonstrate in a community setting the feasibility of a method for epidemiological assessment of elder mistreatment, defined generally as physical, sexual, and emotional mistreatment of (a) an elderly person who has a diminished capacity for self care or self protection; and (b) by someone currently in a position of trust.

In keeping with the suggested community focus of the RFA, we propose to:

  • convene a community advisory panel in the form of the existing South Carolina Adult Protection Service members and other Older Adult service agency members.  This group will review our assessment methodology and suggest revisions, through focus group format, of our vulnerability, trust, and mistreatment definitions and survey materials to assure relevance to community agencies. These materials, used in part in an R03 demonstration project on elder mistreatment, are currently in draft format and are now defined in a manner consistent with that given in the National Research Council publication Elder Mistreatment. Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America (2003) (hereafter referred to as NRC 2003).    

We then propose to:

  • pilot test a multimethod assessment strategy with 800 older adults and 200 caregivers of older adults in South Carolina. This method is conceptually directed by application of the Ecological Model to elder mistreatment and methodologically guided by knowledge gained in our prior national studies of domestic violence and sexual assault in younger populations, and the NIA R03 investigation we conducted on assessment of Elder Mistreatment (NIA# 1R03AG018115-01), the published findings of which are given in the appendix.  Using a multimethod approach, we will assess the prevalence of elder mistreatment in a community sample of both cognitively impaired and unimpaired older adults.  In addition, we will measure hypothesized risk factors and risk factor relationships in order to demonstrate the feasibility of gathering these related data from a variety of participants.

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