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Study: Spouses More Likely To Abuse
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 25, 2005

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA--Older adults with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse from a caregiver if that caregiver is a spouse, according to new research published in the February edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh surveyed a sample of 265 people over age 60 who had a family member providing in-home care and assistance in daily activities. They found that those who were being cared for by a spouse were significantly more likely to be treated harshly than those who were being helped by their adult children or other family members in a caregiving role.

"Caregiving is stressful, and it breaks down the people that are providing the care -- they wear down," said Scott Beach, the study's lead author and director of research at University of Pittsburgh's Center for Social and Urban Research, in a statement.

The researchers suggested that some instances of abuse by spouses may be a continuation of conflicts that existed before disability was a factor. They also indicated that clinical depression on the part of the caregiving spouse seems to increase the risk of mistreatment.

The study's authors recommend that such couples should be monitored closely and that intervention, support groups, and respite care should be provided as needed.

American Geriatrics Society


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