Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Abusive Behavior' Towards People With Dementia By Family Carers Is Common

Date:
January 27, 2009
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Half of family carers of people with dementia report some abusive behavior towards the person they are caring for and one third report 'significant' levels of abuse, according to new research.

Half of family carers of people with dementia report some abusive behaviour towards the person they are caring for and one third report 'significant' levels of abuse, according to new research from UCL (University College London).

Related Articles


The paper authors feel that this is unsurprising, as most people with dementia are being cared for by dedicated family or friends, often with little support.

Dr Claudia Cooper, UCL Department of Mental Health Sciences and lead author of the study, said: "Many people think about elder abuse in terms of "lashing out" and other similar acts, but abuse as defined by government guidelines* can be as simple as shouting or swearing at the person being cared for."

The UK government is currently consulting about a revision of their policy for safeguarding vulnerable adults. This focuses entirely on preventing abuse by paid carers, but in light of their clinical experience the authors wanted to find out how common abusive behaviour is and highlight that policy on abuse will be ineffective unless it is realistic about the problems that family carers are facing.

The researchers conducted a survey of 220 family carers of people with dementia newly referred to psychiatric services and living at home. 115 (52.3 per cent) of the carers reported some abusive behaviour, such as very occasionally screaming or yelling, and 74 (33.6 per cent) reported significant levels of abuse, such as more frequent insulting or swearing at the person for whom they care. Only 1.4 per cent reported significant physical abuse.

The measure used by the researchers in the study is known as the Modified Conflict Tactics Scale (MCTS). Carers answered questions about how often in the last three months they had acted in five psychologically and five physically abusive ways on a scale of 0-4 (never – all the time). A score of more then two on one question is defined by this scale as 'significant' abuse.

Dr Cooper added: "This is the first representative survey to ask family carers about abuse. It shows that abusive behaviour towards people with dementia from family carers is common according to the scale used, with a third reporting 'significant' levels of abuse, and half some abusive behaviour. We found few cases of physical or frequent abuse, although those with the most abusive behaviour may have been reluctant to report it, or take part in the study in the first place."

Co-author Professor Gill Livingston added: "Our findings suggest that any strategy for safeguarding vulnerable adults must be directed towards families who provide the majority of care for older people, rather than exclusively at paid carers. The UK government is currently revising its policy in this area, but unfortunately their review is entirely focused on preventing abuse by paid carers, suggesting that abuse is confined to the formal care system whereas our research suggests this is not the case.

"The vast majority of family carers do a fantastic job under very difficult circumstances and although levels of minor abuse seem high according to the scale used, there may need to be a redefinition. Healthcare professionals can be reluctant to ask about abuse by family carers, but this attitude can be very unhelpful to carers who are worried about their own actions and want to talk about them and get help. Considering elder abuse as a spectrum of behaviours rather than an "all or nothing" phenomenon could help professionals to ask about it and therefore offer assistance."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. The CARD study %u2013 abuse of people with dementia by family carers. British Medical Journal, Online 23 January, 2009

Cite This Page:

University College London. "'Abusive Behavior' Towards People With Dementia By Family Carers Is Common." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122202757.htm>.
University College London. (2009, January 27). 'Abusive Behavior' Towards People With Dementia By Family Carers Is Common. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122202757.htm
University College London. "'Abusive Behavior' Towards People With Dementia By Family Carers Is Common." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090122202757.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins