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Exploring the boundaries between interpersonal and financial institution mistreatment of older people through a social ecology framework

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2015

Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London, UK.
Centre for Innovation and Leadership in Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
Address for correspondence: Corina Naughton, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London, James Clerk Maxwell Building (Rm 2.16), 57 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK E-mail:


Interpersonal financial abuse of older people is well documented but the potential role of financial institutions is rarely examined. Financial institution mistreatment describes direct and indirect practices by financial institutions that threaten the financial wellbeing of older people. This analysis was based on a survey of community-dwelling older people (N = 2,021) aged 65 years and older, and examined self-reports of interpersonal and financial institution mistreatment. The prevalence of interpersonal financial abuse was reported by nearly 2 per cent of respondents compared to 1 per cent for financial institution mistreatment. The socio-demographic and health characteristics of the group who experienced interpersonal financial mistreatment were different from those who reported financial institution mistreatment. The boundaries between the two phenomena were explored using a social ecology framework that reflects the influences of ageism and normative practices on elder abuse. The study confirms previous international evidence on interpersonal financial abuse and provides preliminary data on financial mistreatment by financial institutions. The evidence has implications for policy and current preventative strategies that tend to ignore the influence of macro-contextual factors such as legislative and institutional normative practices, government policies and societal attitudes that can act as permissors of some types of financial mistreatment.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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