Correlates of service utilization among elder abuse victims

Nancy Neverka Barker, Fordham University


This study examined the dominant factors that predict the utilization of services by elder abuse victims who reside in the community. The study sample consisted of 129 elder abuse victims served by an Area Agency on Aging, One Stop. A questionnaire was developed and used to transcribe data from case records for statistical analysis. Principle research questions were based on the assumption underlying this thesis, that is, service utilization by elder abuse victims can be best understood by studying an elderly person's environment. The Andersen-Newman Model (1973) examines individual, family and environmental issues using systems based theory that offers an explanation of service utilization or rejection. The model suggests that a sequence of interrelated factors contribute to the volume of services used. These factors are Predisposing, Enabling and Needs factors. Bi-variate analysis and multiple regression were used to analyze the data. Victims consisted primarily of women, averaging 75 years in age, many of whom lived with their abusers. Perpetrators were overwhelmingly male relatives of the victims, usually an adult son. Psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse reported (75%). An huge majority of this sample (74%) indicated having suffered from two or more types of abuse. The 129 elder abuse victims used a total amount of 538 identified services; the mean number of service utilization was 4.2. Bi-variate findings indicated that service utilization in the case of elder abuse victims is clearly related to Need factors. Regression analysis indicated that significant independent Need variables included: Abuser is both Financially Dependent on the Victim and Primary Caregiver of the Victim, and has both Cognitive and ADL Impairments. The only significant Enabling variable was Victim Lives Alone; and the two significant Predisposing variables were Perpetrator (Abuser) is Substance Abuser, and Abuser is Female. In most research using the Andersen-Newman Model Need variables, as a group are the most important determinants of service utilization. However, in the current study the characteristics of the elder abuse victim and particularly the abuser (Predisposing variables) were of equal importance as the Need predictors of total service utilization. Ethnicity did not emerge from this study as a predictable variable. This may suggest that community agencies can employ service strategies, especially through the use of case management, that reach out to elder abuse victims, particularly to minority elders. The implications of these findings are discussed for practice and policy.

Subject Area

Gerontology|Social work

Recommended Citation

Barker, Nancy Neverka, "Correlates of service utilization among elder abuse victims" (2000). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3077125.