Elder abuse and socioeconomic inequalities: A multilevel study in 7 European countries

Sílvia Fraga, Jutta Lindert, Henrique Barros, Francisco Torres-González, Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kapolou, Maria Gabriella Melchiorre, Mindaugas Stankunas, Joaquim F. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To compare the prevalence of elder abuse using a multilevel approach that takes into account the characteristics of participants as well as socioeconomic indicators at city and country level. Methods: In 2009, the project on abuse of elderly in Europe (ABUEL) was conducted in seven cities (Stuttgart, Germany; Ancona, Italy; Kaunas, Lithuania, Stockholm, Sweden; Porto, Portugal; Granada, Spain; Athens, Greece) comprising 4467 individuals aged 60-84. years. We used a 3-level hierarchical structure of data: 1) characteristics of participants; 2) mean of tertiary education of each city; and 3) country inequality indicator (Gini coefficient). Multilevel logistic regression was used and proportional changes in Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) were inspected to assert explained variance between models. Results: The prevalence of elder abuse showed large variations across sites. Adding tertiary education to the regression model reduced the country level variance for psychological abuse (ICC. = 3.4%), with no significant decrease in the explained variance for the other types of abuse. When the Gini coefficient was considered, the highest drop in ICC was observed for financial abuse (from 9.5% to 4.3%). Conclusion: There is a societal and community level dimension that adds information to individual variability in explaining country differences in elder abuse, highlighting underlying socioeconomic inequalities leading to such behavior. •A community dimension contributed to explain country differences in elder abuse.•Psychological abuse prevalence increased with education level of each city studied.•The country inequalities further explained country differences in financial abuse.•These findings might be of great relevance for public health preventive efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Elder abuse
  • Inequalities
  • Multinational study
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Elder abuse and socioeconomic inequalities: A multilevel study in 7 European countries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this