Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Elder abuse risk factors

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video.

This video of an abusive caregiver serves as a warning. (By the way, if you think this kind of abuse is rare, you're naive.) Anytime you leave a vulnerable loved one with someone else, you run the risk of abuse. Caring for children, the elderly, or for the disabled can be a frustrating job, and the wrong kinds of people sometimes end up in this line of work. Second, we know from social science research that certain groups have higher rates of physical aggressiveness. If you have a choice, you might want to think twice about leaving a loved one with a man, a teenager, or a black person (the worker in the video appears to be Brazilian). Put all those characteristics together--an adolescent black male--the risk seems clearly too high. Of course, the reality is only a difference in probability, but we're talking about family here.

I don't have data that bears directly on the question, but will look for it.


  1. Anonymous4:59 PM

    Euthansia will probably be forced on us as the nation gets more and more insolvent.

  2. I'm sure there are much better videos of elderly abuse. Using a video of a person that is this incapacitated conflates real abuse (that is clearly present in this video) with the kind of forceable care necessary when a person is incapacitated.

  3. You're a professor of sociology, right? You might be interested in Randall Collins' "Violence: A Microsociological Theory" which discusses the dynamics of this, among other things.

  4. Anonymous4:29 PM

    In Oliver Stone's movie "Born on the 4th of July" (based on a real biography by Vietnam vet Ron Kovic), black workers at the Veterans' Administration hospitals were pretty callous and indifferent to the sufferings of the injured white Vietnam vets. So I do think there is a strong likelihood that black caregivers might tend to be abusive, especially towards elderly whites.


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