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Risk factors for elder abuse mapped across Pennsylvania counties: can we determine areas of need?

Baines, Abigail (2017) Risk factors for elder abuse mapped across Pennsylvania counties: can we determine areas of need? Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Elder abuse is projected to become a topic of public health significance, however, research is limited. In the United States, elder abuse is estimated to affect 10% of community-dwelling older adults annually. The economic cost is hypothesized to be over a billion dollars each year. The projected increase in the number of older adults is believed to indicate an increase in elder abuse. Interventions and resources for victims of elder abuse will be needed across the country, however, elder abuse is examined at an individual level and not across communities. This can make it difficult for organizations, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, to determine the proper allocation of resources and funding.
The purpose of this paper is to determine if individual risk factors for elder abuse and the rate of elder abuse can be mapped across the state of Pennsylvania to establish geospatial patterns of elder abuse and identify possible areas where resources and funding could best be utilized. Maps comparing the percentage or rural residents, percentage of older adults living alone, and number of liquor licenses per square mile to the rate of elder abuse were created using QGIS software. GeoDa software was used to examine the spatial autocorrelation of these variables.
None of the three risk factors correlated to the rate of elder abuse across Pennsylvania Counties. This might be due to the small sample size or the fact that substantiated reports were used and elder abuse is often underreported. It is possible that other data sources might have shown different results. For example, emergency department reports of suspected physical elder abuse could have been used but information on other types of abuse would have needed to be found elsewhere.
There is still much to learn about elder abuse. There are currently few longitudinal studies in the United States to inform researchers and policy makers about the issue. Future research looking into the utilization of validated screening tools and indexes examining the risk of elder abuse across different cultures, demographics and abuse types would be beneficial in gaining insight into this public health problem.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Baines, Abigailaeb122@pitt.eduaeb122
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert,
Committee MemberMair,
Committee MemberFabio,
Date: 29 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 April 2017
Approval Date: 29 June 2017
Submission Date: 3 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 68
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: elder abuse Pennsylvania Rural Social isolation Alcohol abuse Liquor license GIS
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 22:30
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 22:30


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