Detecting Risk of Neglect in NSHAP Round 3 Using New Follow-Up Questions to Activities of Daily Living Measures

Melissa J.K. Howe, Kyung Won Choi, Lissette M. Piedra, Selena Zhong, Grey Pierce, Soren C. Cook, Randy Ramirez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Elder neglect is a type of elder abuse wherein an older adult's basic needs remain unmet through negligence. The risk of neglect and its harmful consequences coincides with the need for care that arises with difficulties completing activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). In this paper, we describe how new questions included in Round 3 (2015-2016) of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP-R3) can help detect the risk of elder neglect. Methods: Based on the 2,340 respondents who indicated problems with at least one ADL or IADL, we categorized respondents as at a higher risk of neglect if they were either: (a) not getting wanted help (WANTHELP) or (b) getting help from an undependable caregiver (UNRELIABLE). We tested the external validity of these indicators by examining their association with NSHAP-R3 measures of physical and mental health, personal hygiene, home tidiness, social support, and elder mistreatment, using t tests and chi-square tests. Results: Those labeled higher neglect risk based on the WANTHELP variable showed significantly worse self-rated physical health, personal hygiene, room tidiness, mental health, partner support, family support, and elder mistreatment. The same correlates were significantly associated with higher neglect risk based on the UNRELIABLE variable, except for self-rated physical health, personal hygiene, and room tidiness. Discussion: Findings suggest that these new measures can be useful for identifying NSHAP respondents who are at risk of types of neglect that can be associated with having I/ADL limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S348-S362
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Abuse and neglect
  • Care receiving
  • Functional health status
  • Health outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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