Searching for elder abuse: a systematic review of database citations

J Elder Abuse Negl. 2007;19(3-4):59-78. doi: 10.1300/J084v19n03_04.


The aim of this review was to describe trends and patterns in elder abuse literature and research. All citations in PUB MED, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases located using the search term "elder abuse" were retrieved (3,059 citations) and 2,418 unique references were identified. Using manifest content analysis, non-research material (1,986 references) was sorted by type and research references (34 dissertations and 398 research articles) were categorized. Research article references most commonly: (1) investigated prevalence, typology, and definitions of elder abuse; (2) utilized quantitative methodology; (3) had first author affiliations to medicine, nursing, and social sciences; and (4) sampled populations of professionals, personnel, cases, or charts. The USA was most frequently listed of 24 identified countries of origin. Elder abuse research shows lack of diversity, slow increase of qualitative research, limited involvement of older persons and family members as participants, and minimal research from developing countries. This review contributes to knowledge valuable for researchers and experts planning future studies or elder abuse projects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Elder Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans