Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe

Bahareh Eslami, Mirko Di Rosa, Henrique Barros, Francisco Torres-Gonzalez, Mindaugas Stankunas, Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kapolou, Jutta Lindert, Joaquim J.F. Soares, Giovanni Lamura, Maria Gabriella Melchiorre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Research suggests that survivors of interpersonal violence have an increasing experience of bodily symptoms. This study aims to scrutinise the association between lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men, considering demographics/socioeconomic, social support and health variables. Methods A sample of 4,467 community-dwelling persons aged 60–84 years (57.3% women) living in seven European countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden) was recruited for this cross-sectional study. Lifetime abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial and injury) was assessed on the basis of the UK study of elder abuse and the Conflict Tactics Scale-2, while somatic symptoms were assessed by the Giessen Complaint List short version. Results Women reported somatic symptoms more frequently than men. Multiple regression analyses revealed that lifetime exposure to psychological abuse was associated with higher levels of somatic symptoms among both women and men, while experiencing lifetime sexual abuse was associated with somatic symptoms only among older women, after adjusting for other demographic and socio-economic variables. Country of residence, older age, and low socio-economic status were other independent factors contributing to a higher level of somatic symptoms. Conclusions The positive association between the experience of abuse during lifetime and the reporting of higher levels of somatic symptoms, in particular among older women, seems to suggest that such complaints in later life might also be related to the experience of mistreatment and not only to ageing and related diseases. Violence prevention throughout lifetime could help to prevent somatic symptoms in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0220741
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Economics
violence
Aging of materials
Health
elder abuse
demographic statistics
sexual abuse
Violence
Lithuania
socioeconomic factors
Demography
Elder Abuse
socioeconomic status
chronic exposure
Psychology
Independent Living
cross-sectional studies
Greece
Portugal
Medically Unexplained Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Eslami, B., Rosa, M. D., Barros, H., Torres-Gonzalez, F., Stankunas, M., Ioannidi-Kapolou, E., ... Melchiorre, M. G. (2019). Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe. PLoS One, 14(8), [e0220741]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220741

Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe. / Eslami, Bahareh; Rosa, Mirko Di; Barros, Henrique; Torres-Gonzalez, Francisco; Stankunas, Mindaugas; Ioannidi-Kapolou, Elisabeth; Lindert, Jutta; Soares, Joaquim J.F.; Lamura, Giovanni; Melchiorre, Maria Gabriella.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 14, No. 8, e0220741, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Eslami, B, Rosa, MD, Barros, H, Torres-Gonzalez, F, Stankunas, M, Ioannidi-Kapolou, E, Lindert, J, Soares, JJF, Lamura, G & Melchiorre, MG 2019, 'Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe', PLoS One, vol. 14, no. 8, e0220741. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220741
Eslami B, Rosa MD, Barros H, Torres-Gonzalez F, Stankunas M, Ioannidi-Kapolou E et al. Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe. PLoS One. 2019 Jan 1;14(8). e0220741. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220741
Eslami, Bahareh ; Rosa, Mirko Di ; Barros, Henrique ; Torres-Gonzalez, Francisco ; Stankunas, Mindaugas ; Ioannidi-Kapolou, Elisabeth ; Lindert, Jutta ; Soares, Joaquim J.F. ; Lamura, Giovanni ; Melchiorre, Maria Gabriella. / Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe. In: PLoS One. 2019 ; Vol. 14, No. 8.
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