Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Cynthia D. Connelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chairperson; Anne M. Mayo, DNSc, APRN; Hilda K. Grey, PhD, RN


elder abuse, elderly, Forensic Analysis, Gerontology, nursing


Elder abuse is a recognized social problem in the United States. First labeled as "granny battering" and originally studied under the umbrella of family violence, maltreatment of the elderly has received more funding and research in recent years. Multiple aspects of elder abuse have been examined in the literature including measures for detection, assessment, and documentation. Although studies have examined the circumstances surrounding abuse as well as theories of causation and characteristics of the abuser and the abused, studies of the relationship between the abuser and the abused are less well documented. The purpose of this research was to examine the abuser relationship, family or non-family, and types of abuse (physical, financial, sexual) in the elderly through evaluation of prosecuted cases of elder abuse in order to identify relationships which may inform nursing science in early prevention and intervention strategies in a vulnerable elderly population. Specifically, this research aimed to answer the question "What is the relationship between type of abuser (family, non-family) and type of abuse in cases prosecuted through the San Diego District Attorney's Office?" Statistical analysis demonstrated significance in abuser-abused relationship, type of abuse, and demographic age/gender predictors of financial and physical abuse. No statistical significance was found for sexual abuse. This study informs future nursing research in health outcomes for vulnerable elders, nursing curriculum, and health policy in an aging population.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons