The chronicity and severity of abuse among older persons by country: A European study

Joaquim J F Soares, Silvia Fraga, Eija Viitasara, Mindaugas Stankunas, Örjan Sundin, Maria Gabriella Melchiorre, Gloria Macassa, Henrique Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate chronicity (frequency) in different abuse types (e.g. psychological) and overall abuse (all abuse types) by severity (minor, severe, total) in seven European cities, and scrutinize factors associated with high chronicity levels (frequency on the median and higher) in psychological and overall abuse by severity. Design/methodology/approach: The study design was cross-sectional. The sample consisted of 4,467 randomly selected women/men (2,559 women) aged 60-84 years from seven European cities, and data were analysed with bivariate and multivariate methods. Findings: Chronicity varied across country and by abuse type. For instance, Germany had the highest chronicity means in physical and sexual abuse; Greece in physical, injury, sexual and overall abuse; Lithuania in physical, injury, financial and overall abuse; Portugal in physical abuse; Spain in physical, sexual and financial abuse; and Sweden in psychological, injury, financial and overall abuse. In general, Italy had the lowest chronicity means. The main perpetrators were people close to the respondents and women (in some cases). Research limitations/implications: The independent relationship (regressions) between chronicity/severity of abuse, country and other variables (e.g. depression) was examined only for psychological and overall abuse. More research into this issue with other types of abuse (e.g. sexual) is warranted. Originality/value: The paper reports data from the ABUEL survey, which gathered population-based data on elderly abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-25
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Abuse
  • Chronicity
  • Country
  • Mental health
  • Older persons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Law
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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