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Socioecological indicators of senior financial exploitation: an application of data science to 8,800 substantiated mistreatment cases

NCJ Number
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect Dated: 2020
Date Published

Since senior financial exploitation (FE) is prevalent and harmful and its often insidious nature and co-occurrence with other forms of mistreatment make detection and substantiation challenging, the current study conducted a secondary data analysis of N = 8,800 Adult Protective Services substantiated senior mistreatment cases to determine when pure FE versus hybrid FE was occurring, using machine learning algorithms.


FE represented N = 2514 (29 percent) of the cases, with 78 percent being pure FE. Victim suicidal ideation and threatening behaviors, injuries, drug paraphernalia, contentious relationships, caregiver stress, and burnout and victims needing assistance were most important for differentiating FE vs non-FE-related mistreatment. The inability to afford housing, medications, food, and medical care, as well as victims suffering from intellectual disability disorder(s) predicted hybrid FE. This study distinguishes socioecological factors strongly associated with the presence of FE during protective service investigations. These findings support existing and new indicators of FE and could inform protective service investigation practices. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020