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Lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men in Europe
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Criminology, Social Work. Division of Public Health Science, Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
Laboratory of Geriatric Pharmacoepidemiology, National Institute of Health and Science on Aging, IRCCS INRCA, Ancona, Italy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1862-4159
EPIUnit, Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.
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2019 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 14, no 8, article id e0220741Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Research suggests that survivors of interpersonal violence have an increasing experience of bodily symptoms. This study aims to scrutinise the association between lifetime abuse and somatic symptoms among older women and men, considering demographics/socio-economic, social support and health variables. Methods: A sample of 4,467 community-dwelling persons aged 60–84 years (57.3% women) living in seven European countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Sweden) was recruited for this cross-sectional study. Lifetime abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial and injury) was assessed on the basis of the UK study of elder abuse and the Conflict Tactics Scale-2, while somatic symptoms were assessed by the Giessen Complaint List short version. Results: Women reported somatic symptoms more frequently than men. Multiple regression analyses revealed that lifetime exposure to psychological abuse was associated with higher levels of somatic symptoms among both women and men, while experiencing lifetime sexual abuse was associated with somatic symptoms only among older women, after adjusting for other demographic and socio-economic variables. Country of residence, older age, and low socio-economic status were other independent factors contributing to a higher level of somatic symptoms. Conclusions: The positive association between the experience of abuse during lifetime and the reporting of higher levels of somatic symptoms, in particular among older women, seems to suggest that such complaints in later life might also be related to the experience of mistreatment and not only to ageing and related diseases. Violence prevention throughout lifetime could help to prevent somatic symptoms in later life. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2019. Vol. 14, no 8, article id e0220741
Keywords [en]
ADULT child abuse victims, ABUSE of older people, OLDER women, MATERNAL age, OLDER men, Age groups, Anxiety, Biology and life sciences, Depression, Economics, Elderly, Emotions, Europe, European Union, Finance, Geographical locations, Italy, Lithuania, Medicine and health sciences, Mental health and psychiatry, Mood disorders, People and places, Population groupings, Portugal, Psychology, Research Article, Social sciences, Sweden
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30569DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220741ISI: 000485002500057PubMedID: 31393925Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85071280429OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-30569DiVA, id: diva2:1345290
Projects
Elder Abuse: A multinational prevalence survey (ABUEL)
Note

Funding agency:

European Commission, Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC, currently CHAFEA, Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency, Public Health Programme 2008–2010, Grant Agreement no. 2007123

Available from: 2019-08-23 Created: 2019-08-23 Last updated: 2019-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Eslami, Bahareh

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