How Do Stereotypes Harm Older Adults? A Theoretical Explanation for the Perpetration of Elder Abuse and Its Rise
Aggression and Violent Behavior
Mounting research shows that older adults who experience abuse are at elevated risk for a wide range of negative health and well-being outcomes. Yet, even as the older adult population grows and rates of elder abuse rise across the globe, the issue continues to be overlooked and perpetuated by individuals and institutions across various countries, cultures, and settings. Recognizing, addressing, and preventing the mistreatment of older adults is a challenge because elder abuse is not well-understood or extensively studied, and its root causes are perceived to vary from case to case. In order to fill this gap, we examine elder abuse and its associations with ageism through the lens of two empirically supported, cross-cultural models (i.e., the stereotype content model and BIAS map). These models explain how the acceptance and endorsement of societal stereotypes about older adults on dimensions of warmth and competence lead to emotion-driven, discriminatory behaviors ranging from neglect and abandonment to emotional, financial, and physical harm. This article also serves as a call to action, encouraging researchers, health professionals, policy makers, and community members to gain awareness of their own ageist beliefs and how they influence the way they perceive and interact with older adults.
Shepherd, B. F.,
Brochu, P. M.
(2021). How Do Stereotypes Harm Older Adults? A Theoretical Explanation for the Perpetration of Elder Abuse and Its Rise. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 57(101435).
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/1863