Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 117–128 | Cite as

Elder Mistreatment Perpetrators with Substance Abuse and/or Mental Health Conditions: Results from the National Elder Mistreatment Study

Original Paper


A large portion of persons who commit elder mistreatment have long been known to have indicators of substance abuse and/or mental health conditions (SAMHC). However, few studies have specifically examined elder mistreatment by persons with SAMHC, preventing the development of specialized intervention strategies. Using results from the National Elder Mistreatment Study, the current article examines victim, perpetrator, and interaction characteristics between cases of emotional and physical elder mistreatment in which the perpetrator is reported to have vs. not have SAMHC. Chi square tests and Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon non-parametric tests were performed. 210 perpetrators of emotional elder mistreatment were reported to have SAMHC with 412 perpetrators of emotional mistreatment reported to not have SAMHC. 57 perpetrators of physical elder mistreatment were reported to have SAMHC with 38 perpetrators of physical mistreatment not having SAMHC. Emotional elder mistreatment committed by persons with SAMHC was associated with the following characteristics: perpetrator—unemployment, history of involvement with police, and fewer friendships; victim—female gender, greater emotional problems, and greater occurrences of lifetime emotional mistreatment; interaction—co-residence, and reporting of mistreatment to authorities. Physical elder mistreatment committed by persons with SAMHC was associated with police involvement of the perpetrator and greater occurrences of lifetime physical mistreatment experienced by the victim. These findings indicate that victims of elder mistreatment by persons with SAMHC are in particular need of intervention services as they have greater histories of mistreatment and experience greater emotional problems. Implications for effectively intervening in cases of elder mistreatment by persons with SAMHC are discussed.


Elder abuse Mental health and violence Alcohol and drugs 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Both authors confirm that they do not have potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social Work, College of Health SciencesUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Policy and PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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