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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 173-179

Elder abuse in rural Belagavi: A community-based cross-sectional study

Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research (Deemed to be University), Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Nishtha Malhotra
Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research Deemed to be University, Nehru Nagar, Belagavi - 590 010, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jss.jss_156_21

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Background: Elder abuse is defined by the WHO as: “a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” Elder abuse has always been considered a western problem and its existence in India has never been acknowledged seriously. The present study aimed to find the prevalence of elder abuse and assess the sociodemographic determinants for the same. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study was conducted among 400 in elderly population of age ≥60 years, residing for at least 1 year in rural field practice areas of primary health-care Vantamuri in Belagavi taluka and district, Karnataka state, India, by systematic random sampling from January 1, to December 30, 2020. A set of pretested standardized questionnaires consisting of three parts, including “Modified Geriatric Mistreatment Scale” to assess the elder abuse prevalence, were used. Statistical analysis was done by using rates, proportions, and percentages, and the association was tested with Chi-square test and binary logistic regression. Results: Among the 400 elderly participants, the overall prevalence of elder abuse was found to be 68 (17%). Among all these cases, maximum number of them were facing psychological abuse (59, 52%), followed by economic exploitation (24, 21%), neglect (23, 20%), and physical abuse (8, 7%). None of the participants had experienced sexual abuse. Statistically significant association was present between the occurrence of abuse and sociodemographic characteristics such as age ≥70 years, illiteracy, elderly living with family/spouse, and living in a house owned by spouse/others or a rented place. Conclusion: The prevalence of elder abuse was found to be low (17%) as compared to what was expected (35%). Elder abuse exists in India in various forms, and it is imperative to form new policies and strategies by the government, police, health administration, and NGOs to prevent abuse of elderly population in rural India.

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