Prevalence and correlates of abuse screening items among community-dwelling Hong Kong Chinese older adults

Doris Y.P. Leung*, Shirley K.L. Lo, Angela Y.M. Leung, Vivian W.Q. Lou, Alice M.L. Chong, Joseph S.K. Kwan, Wallace C.H. Chan, Iris Chi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The present study aims to describe the prevalence of potential elder abuse, and to examine correlates of abuse screening items among Chinese community-dwelling older adults. Methods: We analyzed the data of 3435 older persons aged ≥60 years who had first applied for the long-term care services in Hong Kong and completed the screening tool (Minimum Data Set–Home Care) in 2006. For each of the five abuse screening items (“fearful of a family member/caregiver,” “unexplained injuries/broken bones/burns,” “physically restrained,” “unusually poor hygiene” and “neglected/abused/mistreated”), we examined its relationship with four types of factors: older person, perpetrator, relationship and environment. Results: The rates of individual abuse screening items ranged from 3.9% for physically restrained to 0.03% for unexplained injures/broken bones/burns. Physically restrained was positively associated with activities of daily living impairments, instrumental activities of daily living impairments, perceived poor health, physically abusive behavior and caregiver mental health. Unusually poor hygiene was positively associated with socially inappropriate behavior and actively resisted care. “Fearful of a family member/caregiver” was positively associated with perceived poor health, conflicting relationship and mental health, and negatively with care activities. Neglected/abused/mistreated was positively associated with age and informal care, and negatively with care activities. Conclusions: We identified a number of associated factors of different abuse screening items among older adults. Our findings could inform healthcare practitioners in identifying those older persons who might be at higher risk of abuse, and provide a knowledge base on which to develop effective preventive measures in the Chinese population. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; 17: 150–160.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-160
Number of pages11
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number1
Early online date2 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

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