Risk factors for elder abuse and neglect: A review of the literature

Jennifer Storey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Elder abuse is a global problem gaining recognition due to its severe impact on victims and the ageing population. Increased recognition has led to the investigation of perpetrator and victim characteristics that increase the risk of elder abuse. The identification of such risk factors can assist practitioners in preventing abuse, determining the risk of continued elder abuse and, where factors are dynamic, can be targets for risk management. This literature review identifies and describes perpetrator and victim risk factors for elder abuse with the goal of informing professional practice and providing the basis for an empirically derived risk assessment instrument for elder abuse. Electronic searches identified 198 studies that met the eligibility criteria. The studies reviewed provide evidence supporting eight risk factors related to the perpetrator that increase their risk of continued elder abuse and eight victim vulnerability factors that place the victim at heightened risk of elder abuse. Hypotheses raised by researchers to account for the associations are outlined. The practical utility of the risk and vulnerability factors are described. The need for and approach to developing a structured method to assess and manage elder abuse risk based on the empirically supported risk and vulnerability factors is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101339
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Early online date12 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Risk factor
  • elder abuse perpetrator
  • elder abuse victim
  • elder mistreatment
  • elder neglect
  • abuse of older persons

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