Elder Abuse pp 555-578 | Cite as

Role of the Community and Community-Based Participatory Research in Elder Abuse

  • E-Shien ChangEmail author
  • XinQi Dong


Engaging disadvantaged communities in health disparities research is recognized as a paradigm shift in increasing the real-world relevance of epidemiological research. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, in particular, has shown great promise in ameliorating behavioral health disparities in the subpopulations who are faced with elevated risks of violence, including child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse. Empirical evidence consistently supported the need for integrating community perspectives in understanding the persistent age, gender, racial, and socio-demographic and economic characteristics of health disparities in violence. However, few CBPR researchers have embarked on the epidemics of the abuse toward older adults, an equally alarming human rights violation. Elder abuse, also referred to as elder mistreatment, affects vulnerable older adults of all backgrounds. With particular attention to elder abuse, this chapter aims to critically review the theoretical and pragmatic rationales of engaging minority communities in health disparities research. We highlight the contribution of CBPR approach in better understanding the epidemiology of elder abuse including prevalence, risk, and protective factors, as well as intervention and prevention strategies, all of which are critically embedded in the social, cultural, and environmental contexts in which elder abuse arises. We summarize researchers’ lessons learned and challenges faced in adopting CBPR principles into the practice of elder abuse research from working with racial and ethnic minority older adults. Moreover, this chapter discusses the significant policy and practice implications in transforming the culture of unilateral academic into collaborative research partnerships with diverse communities. We believe that reflective mutual-learning, or cultural humility, remains the key component in sustaining the impact of research in bringing about social change and health equity.


Health disparity Community empowerment Community-engaged research Elder mistreatment Intimate partner violence 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public HealthYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Rush Institute for Healthy AgingRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA

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