Associations among elder abuse, depression and PTSD in South Korean older adults

Yun Jung Choi*, Meaghan O’Donnell, Hwa Bok Choi, Hae Sun Jung, Sean Cowlishaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


Increasing attention is being placed on the prevalence of elder abuse and its impact on mental health. This study conducted a survey of 172 elderly people in South Korea to determine the prevalence of elder abuse and the relationships involving elder abuse, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires, which included the Korean Geriatric Depression Screening Scale (KGDS) and Impact of Event Scale-Revised Korean version (IES-R-K). Descriptive analyses were conducted to examine the frequency of specific forms of abuse. Logistic regression models were estimated to identify the factors that contributed to risk of abuse exposure and the relationship between exposure and PTSD or depression. The results indicated around 22% of the participants reported abuse exposure, which most commonly included being refused physical contact, verbal threats, and/or being excluded from decision-making about personal issues. Low education and being unmarried, separated or divorced was associated with an increased risk of abuse exposure. There were strong associations between elder abuse and PTSD symptoms, while comparable relationships with depression were weaker and were not robust to the inclusion of control variables. The findings provided empirical support for the relationship between abuse experiences of the elderly and poor mental health and raise important issues for the mental health care of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1948
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Early online date6 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • Depression
  • Elder abuse
  • Mistreatment
  • Older adults
  • PTSD
  • Senior citizens


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