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African-American seniors at twice the risk for mental abuse, 5 times for financial exploitation
Date:9/28/2010

PITTSBURGHIn the first population-based survey to indicate a racial disparity in the psychological abuse of senior citizens, University of Pittsburgh researchers found that African American seniors could be twice as likely to be mistreated than elders of other races. The survey also revealed that African American elders could be up to five times more susceptible to being swindled. Reporting the survey results in The Gerontologist, the researchers urged that health care and social service workers be especially vigilant for the possible mistreatment of African American seniors.

Lead author Scott Beach, assistant director of Pitt's University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) and director of the center's Survey Research Program, said the study is important to the developing field of elderly abuse research. Beach worked with coauthors Richard Schulz, director of UCSUR and the center's gerontology program; Nicholas Castle, a professor of health policy and management in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health; and Jules Rosen, a professor of psychiatry in Pitt's School of Medicine.

The Pitt survey is among only a few that focus on race as a specific factor in elder mistreatment, Beach said. In addition, the population-based survey collected information directly from senior citizens through face-to-face and telephone interviews, the most effective way to document unreported abuse, he explained; typically, elder mistreatment data is gathered from complaints filed with Adult Protective Services. In this way, the Pitt study helps fill a noted gap in elder mistreatment research: The National Research Council, in its 2003 report, Elder Mistreatment, described existing elder abuse research as having "a number of weaknesses," including a lack of clear, consistent definitions and an absence of population-based data.

The team interviewed 903 adultsa statistically large sampleaged 60 and older living in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Coun
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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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