ERIC Number: ED254796
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Elder Abuse and Neglect: Final Report from Three Model Projects and Appendixes 1 and 2.
Wolf, Rosalie S.; And Others
Three projects on Elderly Abuse were established in 1980 to demonstrate improved mechanisms for reporting, investigating, treating, and preventing abuse and neglect of the elderly. A common framework for evaluation was created which allowed for comparisons and contrasts among the three projects. The evaluation objectives were: (1) to determine the nature and extent of elder abuse/neglect; (2) to assess the effectiveness of education/training/information dissemination activities; and (3) to measure the impact of the intervention model. Data collection included the assessment and re-assessment of 328 abuse/neglect cases and 49 comparison non-abuse/neglect cases; two surveys of 212 community agencies; indepth interviews with 42 physically abused elders and 42 matched control cases; and case studies of the three model projects. Using five causal factors (intra-individual dynamics, dependency, external stress, social isolation, and inter-generational transmission) as the basis for the analysis, it was shown that each type of maltreatment (physical, psychological, material, and active and passive neglect) has distinctive characteristics which may fit one theoretical model better than another. Psychopathology appears to be a major explanatory variable for elder abuse. Of lesser importance are external stress and social isolation. Not enough data could be obtained on the bakcgrounds of the perpetrators of abuse to validate the "cycle of violence" theory. In contrast to the victims of neglect who had problems with cognitive and physical functioning, which forced them to depend on their caretakers, the victims of psychological and physical abuse were more independent in meeting their daily needs, but more likely to be emotionally ill. The common denominators in cases of physical abuse were the relatively poor mental and emotional status and financial dependency of the perpetrators. Material abuse seems to be almost exclusively related to the financial needs of the perpetrators. Given these findings, exchange theory may be an appropriate paradigm for the study of elder abuse. The findings regarding the nature of elder abuse and neglect call into question policies which emphasize age-segregated service delivery (versus a family-centered/integrated approach) and which seek to shift more caregiving burdens to families without recognizing the fact that some relatives are unable to cope physically, emotionally, and financially. (NRB)
Descriptors: Delivery Systems, Elder Abuse, Family Relationship, Human Services, Individual Characteristics, Intervention, Interviews, Models, Older Adults, Parent Child Relationship, Prevention, Program Descriptions, Program Evaluation, Quality of Life, Reference Materials, Social Isolation, Social Networks, Stress Variables, Surveys, Victims of Crime
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Massachusetts State Dept. of Elder Affairs, Boston.
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts Univ. Medical Center, Worcester. Univ. Center on Aging.