Article Text

Download PDFPDF
OP106 The associations between violence and health in older age: a 13-year population-based cohort study
  1. Anastasia Fadeeva,
  2. Polina Obolenskaya
  1. Violence and Society Centre, City, University of London, London, UK


Background Due to the ageing population, the extent and impacts of violence in later life could become increasingly prominent. National and international organizations have started acknowledging the importance of the problem and called for more evidence on the extent of violence and abuse among older people. However, there is a lack of data on violence in older age, especially from longitudinal studies. Additionally, it is challenging to distinguish whether illnesses are caused or exacerbated by ageing, other biological and social factors, or can be attributed to violence. The present research aims to examine causal relationships between exposure to violence and abuse and subsequent health outcomes in adults aged 50 and over using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

Methods ELSA is a panel study that has collected information on many aspects of ageing from individuals aged 50 and over every two years. In wave 3, the life course module included questions on lifetime experiences of physical, sexual violence, and childhood abuse. Analysis was done using Stata 17.0. Logistic multilevel regressions were used to examine associations between lifetime exposures to 1) physical violence, 2) sexual violence, and 3) childhood abuse (wave 3) and the presence of a newly diagnosed psychiatric condition and limiting illness (waves three to nine). We adjusted for a range of demographic, socioeconomic and health confounders, based on the existing evidence and theoretical assumptions.

Results Physical violence was associated with the development of limiting illness (AOR 1.57 95%CI 1.12–2.20). Sexual violence was associated with the development of psychiatric illness (AOR 1.70 95%CI 1.06–2.72). There were gender differences in health outcomes, as physical violence predicted the development of a limiting illness (AOR 1.75 95%CI 1.03–2.99) and a psychiatric condition (AOR 1.81, 95% CI: 1.06–3.709) in older women, while these effects were not observed in older men.

Conclusion Lifetime experiences of violence can lead to physical and mental illnesses in later life. Gender differences in the impacts of violence were also observed with worse health outcomes for women than men. However, no detailed information on the types of violence was collected in ELSA, and there is a further need to examine the gender differences in the effects of different forms of violence (e.g., domestics) and repetitiveness of violence on health in later life. To mitigate the challenges associated with the ageing population, one of the policy approaches should be the prevention of violence and its long-lasting effects on health.

  • Older adults
  • violence
  • health impacts

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.