Prevalence of abuse and risk factors of homicide

Date

1994-12

Authors

Dols, Jean Dowling

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Abstract

A criterion-referenced measurement framework was used to determine the prevalence, frequency, severity, and perpetrator of abuse in elder women, define the characteristics of the elder women who were identified as abused/not abused, and ascertain their risk factors for homicide. The Abuse Assessment Screen (Parker & McFarlane, 1991) was used to describe the distribution of abuse in a population of women, 65 years and older, who sought healthcare in a large southwestern city's public sector emergency center. The Danger Assessment (Campbell, 1986) was used to describe the risk factors for homicide. Personal interview within 3-4 hours of admission to the emergency center was the method used to collect data. Population sampling was used to obtain the participation of 65 African American, 65 Hispanic, and 65 Anglo elder women. Nineteen elder women reported being physically abused one to multiple times since the age of 65 resulting in a point prevalence proportion of 9.7%. The severity of the abuse included sexual abuse and extended from slapping and pushing to punching and choking to being shoved down a flight of stairs or cut with a knife. The nineteen abused elder women incurred injuries including bruises, continuing pain, lacerations, contusions, and fractures. A male was the perpetrator of the abuse for the majority of the women (90%) and was specifically identified as the spouse/boyfriend for ten (53%) of the elder abused women. The demographic characteristics of abused and non abused women did not significantly differ in relation to race, marital status, household size, or age. The woman who was abused after the age of 65 was more likely to live in a dwelling which she owned or rented than to live in an apartment or a dwelling which someone else owned or rented.

The mean number of risk factors of homicide in elder women (2.84) who had been abused was significantly higher as compared to elder women (0.38) who had not been abused. There was not a significant difference between the mean number of risk factors of homicide by race for abused African American, Hispanic, or Anglo elder women.

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Keywords

Nursing, Sociology, Families & family life, Personal relationships, Gerontology, Older people, Women, Health risk assessment, Adult abuse & neglect

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