20 May Early Life Maltreatment Linked to Increased Risk of Elder Abuse
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Director, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research
Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of Population Health Sciences
Professor, Department of Medicine – Division of General Internal Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Interpersonal violence is a substantial public health issue across all socio-demographic and socioeconomic strata globally. A depth of prior studies have found that victims of childhood sexual abuse might have higher risks of re-experiencing sexual violence as adults. But the “re-victimization” phenomenon has been insufficiently examined among the rapidly growing aging populations. There lacks examinations about life-course violence experiences and the accumulative effect of which in older ages.
Our study examined three most common forms of interpersonal violence (child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse) across the life span and found an interconnectedness among them. Individuals with a history of child maltreatment and/or intimate partner violence had two to six times higher risks of elder abuse compared to those without a past experience of the violence.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Violence without noticeable injuries are likely to remain undetected; in particular, evidence supporting screening elder abuse in primary care settings has been inadequate. Health care providers and aging professional should be informed that a history of interpersonal violence might indicate a higher likelihood of further/current violence cases. Meanwhile, the cumulative impact of violence should also be considered when providing services and care to violence victims.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The interconnectedness of violence should be examined among large, nationally representative epidemiologic studies and other diverse populations. More importantly, given the lasting effect and incomplete evidence about best practices for violence ,rigorously designed randomized clinical trials are necessary for the development of effective prevention and intervention strategies for violence. More psychometrical evaluations should be conducted to develop reliable and valid screening measures.
Dong X, Wang B. Associations of Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence With Elder Abuse in a US Chinese Population. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 20, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0313
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