Elder abuse in Portugal: findings from the first national prevalence study

J Elder Abuse Negl. 2015;27(3):174-95. doi: 10.1080/08946566.2014.953659. Epub 2014 Dec 9.


In this study, we present findings of the Portuguese national prevalence study, "Aging and Violence," the purpose of which was to estimate the prevalence of abuse and neglect of older people in family settings over a 12-month period and examine the relationship between abuse and sociodemographic and health characteristics. Through a telephone survey of a representative probability sample (N = 1,123), we evaluated 12 abusive behaviors and demographic data. Overall, 12.3% of older adults experienced elder abuse in family settings. The prevalence rates of specific types were as follows: psychological, 6.3%; financial, 6.3%; physical, 2.3%; neglect, 0.4%; and sexual, 0.2%. Logistic regression was employed to determine the relationship between abuse and covariates. The study suggests that education level, age, and functional status are significantly associated with abuse. Accurate estimates of the prevalence of elder abuse and understanding of victim and perpetrator characteristics are fundamental to designing effective strategies for prevention and intervention.

Keywords: Portugal; abuse and neglect; family context; older adults; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Elder Abuse / ethnology
  • Elder Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Portugal / ethnology
  • Prevalence