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Gender, Relationships, and Elder Abuse: Assessing Aggression in Mother–Daughter Dyads

Pickering, Carolyn E. Z. PhD, RN1; Pieters, Huibrie C. PhD, DPhil, RN2; Mentes, Janet C. PhD, APRN, BC, FGSA2; Moon, Ailee PhD3; Phillips, Linda R. PhD, RN, FAAN2

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000073
Review Articles

ABSTRACT The older adult population is growing rapidly, and with it comes a national concern for elder abuse. Elder abuse is an intentional act of harm or failure to provide care by a person in a trusted relationship with the elder. One relationship is often overlooked in both research and clinical practice as having special significance for elder abuse—that of the adult daughter–elderly mother. However, recent studies suggest that there are gender differences in the use of aggression, which challenge standard assessments of abuse and may be important for assessing mother–daughter relationships. In this narrative review article, the authors review the relevant literature on female-to-female aggression, with an emphasis on its application to mother–daughter relationships and elder abuse. Measurement tools are evaluated in light of the state of the science. The authors conclude with specific recommendations for clinical practice.

Author Affiliations: 1College of Nursing, Michigan State University; 2School of Nursing, University of California Los Angeles; and 3Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California Los Angeles.

Funding for this work was provided by the John A. Hartford, Patricia G. Archbold Predoctoral Scholar Award and the University of California Los Angeles Dissertation Year Fellowship and from a research award by the Gamma Tau—at-large chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Carolyn E. Z. Pickering, PhD, RN, 1355 Bogue Street, Bott Building, C349, East Lansing, MI 48824; Office Phone: 517/884-4644; E-mail:

Received September 10, 2014; accepted for publication April 13, 2015.

© 2015 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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