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Domestic violence: prevalence of suspected ill treatment of the elderly

, : Domestic violence: prevalence of suspected ill treatment of the elderly. Atencion Primaria 27(5): 331-334

To determine the prevalence of suspected ill treatment of the elderly (ITE) in the population cared for in a health district and to analyse the associated variables. Cross-sectional study.Setting. Les Planes (Sant Joan Despí, Barcelona). Urban Health District. 307 patients over 70 years old seen in the Health District. The study had 39 losses, 31 exclusions because of cognitive disorder and 18 because it was impossible to hold the interview. 219 completed the study. The Pfeiffer test was administered through an interview, social and demographic variables were collected, a questionnaire on ill treatment was filled in (a positive reply was considered ITE), and physical dependence was evaluated (Katz index). Prevalence of ITE was 26 people or 11.9% (95% CI, 7.6-16.2), breaking down into 6 physically ill-treated, 20 psychologically, one sexually, 3 by negligence and 3 by neglect. Nine people suffered more than one kind of ill treatment. Significant associated variables were: being a woman 18% (p < 0.01), receiving social assistance 46% (p < 0.001), being a widow/widower 21% (p < 0.01), not having had paid employment 20% (p < 0.04) and having a rotating residence 28% (p < 0.003). On application of multivariate analysis, being a woman (OR 4.99) and receiving social assistance (OR 7.55) maintained their significance. The presumed perpetrators were son/daughter (57%), spouse (8%), son/daughter-in-law (23%). 19% of these were drug-dependent and 15% suffered psychiatric disorders. The high prevalence of ITE is clear. These results should alert doctors to a previously under-rated health problem.


PMID: 11333553

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