U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Using Latent Class Analysis to Identify Profiles of Elder Abuse Perpetrators

NCJ Number
Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences Volume: 73 Issue: 5 Dated: July 2018 Pages: E49-E58
Date Published
July 2018
10 pages

The current study classified abusers into subtypes according to their behavior, so as to move away from assumptions of perpetrator homogeneity and to inform intervention approaches.


Data were from the Older Adult Mistreatment Assessment administered to victims by Adult Protective Service (APS) in Illinois. Latent class analysis was used to categorize 336 abusers, using victim and caseworker reports on abusers' harmful and supportive behaviors and characteristics. Multinomial logistic regression was then used to determine which abuser profiles were associated with four types of mistreatmentneglect, physical, emotional, and financialand other sociodemographic characteristics. Abusers fell into four profiles descriptively labeled "Caregiver," "Temperamental," "Dependent Caregiver," and "Dangerous." Dangerous abusers had the highest levels of aggression, financial dependency, substance abuse, and irresponsibility. Caregivers were lowest in harmful characteristics and highest in providing emotional and instrumental support to victims. The four profiles significantly differed in the average age and gender of the abuser, the relationship to victims, and types of mistreatment. This is the first quantitative study to identify and characterize abuser subtypes. Tailored interventions are needed to reduce problem behaviors and improve strengths specific to each abuser profile. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: July 1, 2018