Yvonne Woodhead

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Elder Abuse in New Zealand: Social Risk Factors

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Elder abuse is a legal, social justice and public health issue. Lack of consensus about how it should be defined, what causes it and how it should be assessed in the context of a rapidly ageing population, makes elder abuse a topical but still developing research area. In this study, Ms Woodhead used an existing dataset relating to health and positive ageing factors of 3,277 older adults residing in the New Zealand community to quantitatively analyse risk factors of elder abuse as identified by existing literature. She found that greater loneliness and lower social support were significantly related to elder abuse when controlling for age, physical health, mental health and economic living standards. The findings imply that risk of elder abuse may be reduced by introducing community or other initiatives to provide older adults with greater levels of social interaction and access to social support.

Professor Christine Stephens
Associate Professor Paul Merrick
Associate Professor Joanne Taylor