Prevalence and factors associated with caregiver abuse of elderly dependents: The hidden face of family violence

Valéria Teresa Saraiva Lino Nádia Cristina Pinheiro Rodrigues Idenalva Silva de Lima Soraya Athie Edinilsa Ramos de Souza About the authors


This cross-sectional study was carried out in Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and aimed to identify the prevalence and factors associated with familial violence perpetrated by caregivers against elderly dependents. A sample of 135 pairs was evaluated using instruments to assess both caregivers (social support, alcoholism, burden, violence) and elders (depression, cognition, functional capacity). Statistical tests compared the percentages of reported violence according to the characteristics of caregiver and elders. A logistic regression model investigated the association between violence and caregiver/ elder characteristics. More than 30% of caregivers gave responses consistent with risk of elder abuse. Among them, high burden level and comorbid alcohol abuse increased the risk of violence by 11 and 3.8 times, respectively. Elderly men were 2.9 times more likely to be mistreated than elderly women, and depressed ones were 6.9 times more likely to report mistreatment than those without depression. Conclusion: We detected a high prevalence of caregiver violence against elderly dependents, with substantially greater risk among caregivers with high levels of burden, alcohol-related problems, and those caring for depressed elders. Family support strategies are needed to reduce domestic violence and protect elderly victims.

Key words
Elder abuse; Violence against the elderly; Impaired elderly; Caregiver

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