Older adults are more vulnerable to health risks than younger people and may get exposed to various dangers, including elder abuse. This study aimed to design and implement an empowerment educational intervention to prevent elder abuse.
This parallel randomized controlled trial was conducted in 2014-2016 for 18 months on 464 older adults aged above 60 years who visited health houses of 22 municipalities in Tehran. Data were collected using standard questionnaires, including the Elder Abuse-Knowledge Questionnaire, Health-Promoting Behavior Questionnaire, Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II, Barriers to Healthy Lifestyle, Perceived Social Support, Perceived Self-Efficacy, Loneliness Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and the SCARED (stress, coping, argument, resources, events, and dependence) tool. The intervention was done in twenty 45- to 60-minute training sessions over 6 months. Data analysis were performed using χ2 tests, multiple linear and logistic regression, and structural equation modeling (SEM).
The frequency of knowledge of elder abuse, self-efficacy, social support and health promoting lifestyle before the intervention was similar in the two groups. However, the frequency of high knowledge of elder abuse (94.8% in the intervention group and 46.6% in the control group), high self-efficacy (82.8% and 7.8%, respectively), high social support (97.0% and 10.3%, respectively) and high health promoting lifestyle (97.0% and 10.3%, respectively) was significantly higher (P<0.001) and the frequency of elder abuse risk (28.0% and 49.6%, respectively) was significantly less in the intervention group after the intervention. SEM standardized beta (Sβ) showed that the intervention had the highest impact on increase social support (Sβ=0.80, β=48.64, SE=1.70, P<0.05), self-efficacy (Sβ=0.76, β=13.32, SE=0.52, P<0.05) and health promoting behaviors (Sβ=0.48, β=33.08, SE=2.26, P<0.05), respectively. The effect of the intervention on decrease of elder abuse risk was indirect and significant (Sβ=-0.406, β=-0.340, SE=0.03, P<0.05), and through social support, self-efficacy, and health promoting behaviors.
Educational interventions can be effective in preventing elder abuse.