Impact of Historical Intimate Partner Violence on Wellbeing and Risk for Elder Abuse in Older Women

Monica Cations, Hannah A.D. Keage, Kate E. Laver, Julie Byles, Deborah Loxton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the psychological impacts and risk for elder abuse associated with historical intimate partner violence (IPV) in older women. Design: Prospective cohort study Setting: All Australian states and territories. Participants: A total of 12,259 women aged 70–75 years at baseline participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health. Measurements: Women were asked at baseline whether they had ever been in a violent relationship with a partner, and completed a comprehensive survey about their physical and psychological health every 3 years (15 years follow-up) including the Short Form-36 Mental Health subscale (SF-MH) and Vulnerability to Abuse Screening Scale (VASS). Linear mixed effects modelling with maximum likelihood estimation assessed the impact of IPV over time on the SF-MH and VASS. Risk for incident depression and experiencing physical or sexual violence over follow-up was examined using logistic regression models. Results: The 782 (6.4%) women who reported historical IPV recorded significantly poorer psychological wellbeing at all timepoints compared to those who did not report historical IPV, and were at higher risk for incident depression over follow up (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.36, 95% confidence interval [CI]:1.11–1.67). There was no significant relationship between historical IPV and self-reported exposure to physical or sexual violence in late life (aOR = 0.87, 95%CI: 0.53–1.43), but women who reported historical IPV recorded higher rates of vulnerability to abuse on the VASS. Discussion: Women who have experienced a violent relationship continue to experience negative effects into older age, highlighting the importance of clinical monitoring and ongoing support for survivors as they age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-940
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number9
Early online date29 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • elder abuse
  • end-of-life
  • Intimate partner violence
  • psychological wellbeing
  • traumatic stress


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of Historical Intimate Partner Violence on Wellbeing and Risk for Elder Abuse in Older Women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this