Prevalence and Correlates of Elder Abuse in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

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To assess the prevalence of elder abuse and to investigate potential sociodemographic, health behavior, and medical correlates.


Cross-sectional data were collected in face-to-face assessments.


São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Individuals aged 60 to 75.


Information on elder abuse was obtained using the Brazil-adapted, nine-item Hwalek-Sengstock Elder Abuse Screening Test. Sampling design–adjusted descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used in analyses.


The overall prevalence of abuse was 14.4% (n = 46/259, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 9.82–20.61) in São Paulo and 13.3% (n = 27/197, 95% CI = 8.76–19.74) in Rio de Janeiro. Unadjusted analyses indicated that poor education, low physical activity, unemployment, heart disease, and psychiatric problems were associated with abuse, but in adjusted analyses, self-reported elder abuse was significantly associated only with psychiatric problems (São Paulo: OR = 4.48, 95% CI = 1.75–11.45; Rio de Janeiro: OR = 21.61, 95% CI = 6.39–73.14).


Elder abuse is prevalent in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but whether concomitants of abuse are cause, effect, or both is unclear because this was a cross-sectional study. These findings highlight the importance of the problem, as well as the need to develop measures to increase awareness, facilitate prevention, and fight against abuse of elderly adults.

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