Rewording elder abuse : a test of six frameworks
Kipper, Karen Elizabeth Mary
Master of Arts
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
MetadataShow full item record
The term “elder abuse” carries powerful connotations and preconceptions, making the topic a difficult one to broach. In order to effectively reach older adults, their family members and caregivers, educators would do well to avoid language that could automatically repel these individuals. The main objective o f this study was to take a step toward finding more accessible forms o f written information on elder abuse by testing the effects o f the manner in which this information is presented. Combinations o f three message types (informational, empowerment, and elder abuse) and two message tones (neutral and emotional) produced six alternative versions or frameworks. Informational messages featured an objective, factual approach, while empowerment messages took a more subjective, positive aging approach. Elder abuse messages referred directly to abuse and neglect. Each participant (305 university students and 60 older adults) read one o f the six versions and completed a questionnaire. Two sets o f three-way ANOVAs and multinomial logistic regressions examining type, tone, and group effects were conducted. The results indicated that elder abuse messages had higher perceived quality than empowerment messages, and that emotionally-toned messages had higher perceived impact than neutrally-toned messages. Compared to other frameworks, the informationneutral message was more likely to result in indications that most older Canadians have no problems or few problems with those close to them. A number o f group effects and interactions occurred. It was concluded that the wording o f information on elder abuse does have significant effects on readers’ responses, effects that often vary according to the characteristics o f the reader.