This study conducted a scoping review of the elder abuse (EA) intervention research literature to understand the range of outcomes considered to date and to provide guidance for future research.
Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers worldwide recognize elder abuse (EA) as a major threat to the health and well-being of older adults; however, rigorous intervention research has greatly lagged behind this interest. A major weakness is the lack of cohesive understanding of appropriate program outcomes to be measured. In addressing this research gap, the current study searched Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid PsycInfo, Ovid Social Work Abstracts, Ebsco AgeLine, Ebsco CINAHL, Wiley Cochrane Central, and Proquest Sociological Abstracts for studies that evaluated community-based EA response programs. Two independent reviewers completed record search, screening, and data extraction procedures. This effort identified 52 eligible studies (1986–2019) that employed a total of 184 outcomes (range: 1–16, mean = 3.5). The study revealed that a large range of outcomes has been employed in EA intervention studies to date, mostly attached to victims or the intervention process itself, with inconsistent operational definitions and measurement procedures. Several key recommendations for future EA intervention research are 1) implementing intervention outcomes that reflect multiple levels of eco-systemic influence; 2) heightening the analysis of intervention process outcomes beyond description toward modeling them as factors that mediate or moderate successful case outcomes; 3) conducting qualitative research with EA victims and other relevant stakeholders to understand meaningful intervention outcomes from their perspectives; and 4) establishing common EA outcome measures for implementation across studies to facilitate greater data pooling and synthesis. (publisher abstract modified)