presents descriptive statistics for the total sample and separately for those who experienced no mistreatment and those who experienced any mistreatment.
presents models of mistreatment regressed on psychosocial factors and controls. These results provide evidence on our first hypothesis, that those with more psychosocial resources and fewer psychosocial deficits are less likely to report mistreatment experience than those with fewer psychosocial resources and more psychosocial deficits. Column 1 of presents results for any mistreatment, and columns 2 and 3 present results for one type of mistreatment versus multiple types. Results are presented as odds ratios.
Odds Ratios of Mistreatment on Psychosocial Resources, Psychosocial Deficits, and Other Variables
For any mistreatment, shows fairly strong support for the hypothesis. Those with high self-esteem, more positive social support, less criticism from close relationships, and less perceived isolation are less likely to report any mistreatment experience. All these odds are significant at the 0.05 level or better. Only two measures of psychosocial resources show no association with odds of mistreatment: partner status and number of close friends and relatives, and social participation shows an association with mistreatment which is opposite to what we expected.
The results in for one type of mistreatment versus multiple types, with no mistreatment as the reference category, also provide support for the hypothesis, with results virtually identical to those for any mistreatment. One interesting difference is the sizeable effect of partner status on the odds of experiencing multiple types of mistreatment; those with a spouse or partner show much lower odds of multiple mistreatments than those without a partner.
These results suggest that perceptions of social support and criticism from close social ties and perceived social isolation are strongly associated with odds of mistreatment. We note that all these measures reflect the social world surrounding the older adult as seen through his or her eyes. The objective measures of resources, such as partner status or number of close connections, are much less strongly associated, if at all, with odds of mistreatment.
and present results from the regressions of psychological well-being on mistreatment and psychosocial resources and deficits. These results provide evidence on our second and third hypotheses: Those who experienced mistreatment show lower levels of psychological well-being than others and those who experienced multiple types of mistreatment show lower levels of well-being than those who experienced one type. provides results for global happiness, and provides results for psychological distress. In each table, Models 1 and 3 include only the relevant measure of mistreatment. Models 2 and 4 add the measures of psychosocial resources and deficits and other control variables. These models allow us to assess the direct association between resources and well-being.
The odds ratios for any mistreatment on global happiness is 0.48, suggesting that older adults who experienced mistreatment are about half as likely to report any level of happiness or higher than those with no mistreatment. This is a very large difference. The results in Model 3 are in the expected direction, with lower odds of happiness for those with multiple types of mistreatment than for those with one type, although the odds ratios are not significantly different. We note that all the measures of psychosocial resources and deficits are strongly associated in the expected direction with global happiness. Odds of any level of happiness or greater are higher for those with high self-esteem, those with a spouse or partner, those with more close friends and relatives, those with positive social support, and those with greater social participation. Odds of happiness are lower for those with more criticism from close relationships and those who perceive themselves to be more isolated. Controlling for psychosocial factors and other demographic and health covariates, the association between mistreatment and happiness is attenuated but remains significant.
shows models of psychological distress. These results provide support for the second hypothesis; those with any mistreatment show greater distress than those with none. This difference is less than one fifth of a point on a scaling ranging from 1 to 4, so while significant it is substantively modest. The coefficient is further attenuated once psychosocial resources and deficits and other control variables are added. The results for one type versus multiple types of mistreatments show support for the third hypothesis; both show greater distress than those with no mistreatment, and distress is greater for those with multiple types of mistreatments than for those with one type, although the coefficients on one type and multiple types are not significantly different.
As we saw in the models of global happiness, psychosocial resources and deficits are associated in the expected direction with psychological distress. There are two exceptions: We see no association between number of close friends and relatives and distress and partner status is weakly though positively associated with distress, net of other factors. Note that these associations are net of the effects of positive support and criticism from spouse or partner, family and friends, and perceived social isolation, all of which are strongly associated with distress, suggesting that any impact of objective social connection operates through the supports these connections offer and the demands they make.
Finally, presents interactions of mistreatment and psychosocial factors on the two measures of psychological well-being to test the moderating effect of psychosocial resources and deficits. We see scattered and modest support for the idea that resources and deficits moderate the association between mistreatment and well-being, although all the interactions that do appear are in the expected direction. For global happiness, two types of psychosocial resources—social participation and positive social support—are more strongly associated with odds of being happier among those who experienced mistreatment; for distress we see three interactions of this type, for social participation, positive social support, and perceived social isolation. As shows, at low levels of these resources, the mistreated show much lower levels of happiness than others, but this gap is virtually eliminated among those with high levels of resources. shows the same convergence in levels of psychological distress between the mistreated and others at high levels of resources and low levels of deficits.
Interaction effects of mistreatment and psychosocial resources and deficits on global happiness.
Interaction effects of mistreatment and psychosocial resources and deficits on psychological distress.
The comparison of one type of mistreatment with multiple types of mistreatment shows much the same pattern as the models of any mistreatment, with two interesting differences: Positive social support reduces the relationship between mistreatment and happiness much more for those experiencing multiple types than for those experiencing one type and social participation has a similarly strong effect on the association between multiple types of mistreatment and distress. Neither of these was predicted theoretically.