Pilot Study of the Differences Among the Puerto Rican Aged by Gender in Opinion, Attitude and Exposure to Abuse, Mistreatment and Neglect

Annabelle Irizarry-Irizarry


Objectives. Contribute to the knowledge base of the risk factor literature by gender for abuse, mistreatment and neglect of the Puerto Rican aged. Background. A review of the literature in Puerto Rico and the United States related to gender impacting upon elder abuse, mistreatment and neglect report conflicting findings. Methods. A 107 item questionnaire was developed. The definitions of abuse, mistreatment and neglect were based on those set out by the National Center on Elder Abuse in the United States (1998). The questionnaire has been preliminarily validated by Cronbach’s Alpha .879. The sample of respondents was based upon availability. This method was selected in the face of practical considerations in spite of criticism to the external validity that this type of sample represents. Structured face to face interviews were carried out from August to December 2004 with 430 aged residing in community. Data were entered into the SPSS program whereby cross tabulations were carried out for gender. Results. Elderly Puerto Ricans regardless of gender are knowledgeable concerning what constitutes attributes of abuse, mistreatment and neglect. Females were found to report a high percentage of yes responses than males to opinion statements related to situations of abuse, mistreatment and neglect. Males reported a higher percentage of yes responses to situations of exposure to abuse and neglect than females. Conclusions. Findings here are similar to some reported in the United States but are dissimilar to those reported in Puerto Rico. Further research must be carried out to pinpoint the living arrangements situations placing the aged in greatest risk for abuse and neglect. Such findings have implications for social policy, prevention and intervention strategies.

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982