Introduction Abuse and neglect of persons aged 60 years and over has become an increasingly prominent public health issue. From January 2009 to July 2009, we conducted the cross-sectional European study “Abuse of the elderly in the European region” (ABUEL) among community-dwelling elderly populations aged 60–84 years in Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Objective (1) To describe the prevalence rate of violence against people aged 60–84 in Europe; (2) To analyse differences in prevalence rates between countries; and (3) To investigate whether there is a relation between violence and health.
Methods Description of variables, bivariate tests and regression analyses.
Results N=4467 participants were interviewed in the seven participating countries. The response rates ranged from 18.9% in Germany to 87.4% in Portugal. The lowest prevalence rates of overall violence against the elderly were found in the southern countries (Italy, Greece, and Spain); the highest prevalence rates were found in Germany, Lithuania and Sweden (about 30%). Country of origin was significantly associated with level of reported violence. Psychological violence was associated with increased rates of depression and anxiety.
Conclusion Violence against the elderly is significantly associated with health of the elderly and an important risk factor. Further studies are needed to gain further knowledge and design tailored intervention and prevention programmes.
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