The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America
from simple questions regarding mistreatment behaviors to clinical interview protocols. Some of these measures provide little or no psychometric validation or actual specification of items. Others measure constructs related to elder mistreatment, but not mistreatment per se. They are mentioned here in the interest of achieving comprehensiveness.
The modified Elder Abuse Attitudes and Behavior Intention Scale-revised (Childs et al., 2000) assesses attitudes toward abuse, intentions to abuse, and actual behaviors of abuse in caregivers. Although this scale measures both attitudes and intentions (e.g., potential risk factors) as well as behaviors, it is not specifically designed to measure prevalence or incidence of abuse. Childs and colleagues report some indication that perpetrators tend to “fake good.”
Coyne and colleagues (1993) sent anonymous questionnaires to 1,000 caregivers who called a dementia hot line. Three hundred forty-two completed and returned questionnaires, which contained 30 items assessing caregiver characteristics, demented senior characteristics, and specific abusive behaviors. Functioning was also assessed. The manner and type of abusive behaviors for which data were collected were not specified further than “punching, shoving, biting, kicking, and striking.” This measure was inexpensive, and confidence in reports of abuse is high. However, confidence in nonreports is low. Moreover, no psychometric data were available on reliability or validity. No assessment of financial exploitation, neglect, or psychological abuse was indicated in the article, and a low response rate to the mailed questionnaire mitigated results.
Cooney and Mortimer (1995) also sent anonymous postal questionnaires to 200 British caretakers who participated with a dementia support organization. Questions followed the format of Pillemer and Finkelhor (1988), thus apparently some form of the CTS was used for physical abuse, although the report gave no specifics. Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats and verbal aggression, and neglect were measured. Data were collected on caregivers (substance use, psychiatric history, length of care) and victims (physical dependency, behavioral disturbance). The response rate was 33.5 percent. Strengths included assessment of multiple forms of abuse and seemingly high sensitivity, with 55 percent of respondents reporting some abuse. However, low response rate to survey must be considered.
Finally, Sengstock and Hwalek (1986) reviewed items (not the measures as complete indices) from seven assessment indices from the early 1980s. Most of the items on these scales assessed risk rather than incidents of elder mistreatment (57.6 percent of all items). Sixteen percent measured neglect and 14.3 percent measured physical abuse. Sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and exploitation were largely omitted. The measures from which items were collected consisted of two social service intake-screening sheets (South Carolina, Ohio), an index from a conference paper presentation