Influences on the perception of elder financial abuse among older adults in Southern California

Knight, Bob G. and Kim, Seungyoun and Rastegar, Sarah and Jones, Scott and Jump, Victoria and Wong, Serena (2015) Influences on the perception of elder financial abuse among older adults in Southern California. International Psychogeriatrics, 28 (1). pp. 163-169. ISSN 1041-6102


Background: Under-reporting of elder financial abuse is partly due to failure of those around the victim to perceive the financial mistreatment as abuse. This study explored the effect of victim and perceiver factors on perception of elder financial abuse in the context of Routine Activity Theory (RAT).

Methods: 488 older adults in Ventura County (CA) were surveyed about financial abuse using vignette method. In the study's Vignette 1, the amount of money taken, the type of frailty, and the relationship of perpetrator and victim were manipulated. In Vignette 2, the victim's age and relationship of perpetrator and victim were manipulated. Respondents’ demographics (age, gender, education, and ethnicity) were collected.

Results: Logistic regression analyses revealed that children of the victim were least likely to be seen as committing abuse in both vignettes. In Vignette 1, there was an interaction of gender of respondent and the amount of money taken. In Vignette 2, non-Whites were less likely to perceive the signing over of the house as financial abuse. Respondents endorsed the concept of a special court with expertize in elder abuse as a way to increase the likelihood that they would report.

Conclusions: Even though most financial abuse is perpetrated by family members, older adults are less likely to perceive a financial situation as abuse when it involves a child of the victim, thus making reporting and prevention less likely. The support for a specialty Elder Abuse Court (EAC) suggests that some reluctance to report is based on misgivings about punishing the perpetrator.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 23:50
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2016 01:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: financial abuse; risk factors; routine activity theory; cultural differences
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920502 Health Related to Ageing
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940103 Ageing and Older People
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1017/S1041610215000587

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