Category: Violence / Aggression

PS4- #C91 - The National Elder Mistreatment Study Wave 2: Race and Ethnicity Findings

Friday, Nov 17
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Aging / Older Adults | Risk / Vulnerability Factors | Race / Ethnicity

Background: The National Elder Mistreatment Study (NEMS) recruited  5,777 community residing older adults and represented the largest epidemiological study of elder abuse in this country. The NEMS found increased risk of elder abuse among Hispanics. The purpose of the NEMS wave 2 followup study was to explore outcomes of abuse, 8 years later, in terms of depression, PTSD, and analyze these rates as they vary by race and ethnicity.


Methods: We attempted to re-contact the entire original sample of elder abuse victims (age 68 and over) and a reference sample of non-victims at about a 1:3 ratio, producing a follow-up sample of 183 abuse victims (of the original 684) and a reference sample of 591 non-victims. 15 (1.9%) participants were Hispanic and 58 (7.7%) were non-white. Computer assisted telephone survey methodology was used to standardize data collection while measuring new episodes of abuse, and to determine presence of DSM-V symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


 Results: Whereas there was no main effect for Hispanic ethnicity associated with psychopathology symptom count assessed 8 years post abuse, ethnicity interacted significantly with prior history of elder abuse to dramatically increase symptom counts. 

Conclusion: These findings indicate that effects of elder abuse in terms of depression, GAD and PTSD may be enduring, even 8 years following the event, and that these effects are relatively more pronounced in ethnic minorities. This is disconcerting given health disparities that already confront this, the fastest growing segment of the US population, and indicate that more attention should be directed toward elder abuse in general, and its mental health impact on minority populations in particular.

Melba Hernandez-Tejada

Assistant Professor, college of nursing
medical university of south carolina

Ron Acierno

professor and associate dean for research, college of nursing
medical university of south carolina
Johns Island, South Carolina

Wendy Muzzy

assistant professor, college of nursing
medical university of south carolina