Intimate Partner Abuse Affects Broad Spectrum of Ages

Study finds 4% of women aged 65 and older reported mistreatment within past 5 years

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MONDAY, March 5, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Many elderly women say they've been physically or mentally abused by intimate partners at some point in their lives, says a U.S. study in the March issue of The Gerontologist.

The Ohio State University-led study of 370 women, aged 65 and older, enrolled in a large West Coast health-care delivery system found that about 4 percent of the women said they'd been abused within the previous five years, and just over 2 percent said they'd been abused within the past year.

The findings show that intimate partner abuse -- typically viewed as a problem only among younger women -- can happen to women at any age.

About 18 percent of the women reported that they'd suffered sexual or physical abuse by intimate partners at some point in their lives, and 22 percent said they'd been victims of non-physical abuse, including being threatened, being called names, or having their behavior controlled by a partner.

The study said that about 60 percent of the women who were physically abused and about 71 percent of those who suffered mental abuse rated the abuse as severe.

Only 3 percent of the women said that they'd ever been asked by a health-care provider about physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.

The study was funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about domestic abuse.

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, March 2, 2007

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