Abuse and neglect of older persons in seven cities in seven countries in Europe: A cross-sectional community study

Jutta Lindert, Juan De Luna, Francisco Torres-Gonzales, Henrique Barros, Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kopolou, Maria Gabriella Melchiorre, Mindaugas Stankunas, Gloria MacAssa, Joaquim F J Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: We aimed to investigate the prevalence rate of abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial, neglect) of older persons (AO) in seven cities from seven countries in Europe (Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden), and to assess factors potentially associated with AO. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2009 (n = 4,467, aged 60-84). Potentially associated factors were grouped into domains (domain 1: age, gender, migration history; domain 2: education, occupation; domain 3: marital status, living situation; domain 4: habitation, income, financial strain). We calculated odds ratios (OR) with their respective 95 % confidence intervals (CI). Results: Psychological AO was the most common form of AO, ranging from 10.4 % (95 % CI 8.1-13.0) in Italy to 29.7 % (95 % CI 26.2-33.5) in Sweden. Second most common form was financial AO, ranging from 1.8 % (95 % CI 0.9-3.2) in Sweden to 7.8 % (95 % CI 5.8-10.1) in Portugal. Less common was physical AO, ranging from 1.0 % (95 % CI 0.4-2.1) in Italy to 4.0 % (95 % CI 2.6-5.8 %) in Sweden. Sexual AO was least common, ranging from 0.3 (95 % CI 0.0-1.1) in Italy and Spain to 1.5 % (95 % CI 0.7-2.8) in Greece. Being from Germany (AOR 3.25, 95 % CI 2.34-4.51), Sweden (OR 3.16, 95 % CI 2.28-4.39) or Lithuania (AOR 2.45, 95 % CI 1.75-3.43) was associated with increased prevalence rates of AO. Conclusion: Country of residence of older people is independent from the four assessed domains associated with AO. Life course perspectives on AO are highly needed to get better insight, and to develop and implement prevention strategies targeted at decreasing prevalence rates of AO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Abuse
  • Context
  • Life course
  • Older individuals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)


Dive into the research topics of 'Abuse and neglect of older persons in seven cities in seven countries in Europe: A cross-sectional community study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this