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Theory-Based Models Enhancing the Understanding of Four Types of Elder Maltreatment

NCJ Number
International Review of Victimology Volume: 22 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2016 Pages: 289-320
S. L. Jackson; T. L. Hafemeister
Date Published
September 2016
31 pages
Using the results of the authors previous research as the foundation, this article presents distinct models that encapsulate four types of elder maltreatment, including one model that focuses on what transpires when two relatively distinct forms of abuse co-occur.
Notwithstanding that elder abuse has existed since antiquity, it was only during the 1990s that society began to recognize that elder abuse is a pervasive and pernicious problem needing a systematic response. Despite this emerging attention to elder abuse and society's dedicated efforts to address it, little attention has been given to articulating a theory-based foundation to explain the occurrence of elder maltreatment, which in turn may explain why society's efforts have had limited success. The current article argues that elder maltreatment should be divided into distinct subtypes reflecting their different etiologies, risk factors, interpersonal dynamics, correlates, and consequences; this, in turn, requires distinct societal responses. Without recognizing that this abuse occurs in the context of a relationship, understanding of elder abuse and the building of relevant models will be significantly limited. Although the application of these models has not yet been empirically tested, their articulation should enhance the understanding of elder maltreatment and promote new lines of related research and societal responses. 163 references (Publisher abstract modified)