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Senior citizens who are black are more likely to be the victims of psychological and financial abuse as elders of other races.

According to a new survey, published in The Gerontologist African American elders could be up to five times more susceptible to being cheated financially. The survey is among only a few that focus on race as a specific factor in elder mistreatment, says Scott Beach, assistant director of Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) at the University of Pittsburgh.

The population-based survey collected information directly from senior citizens through face-to-face and telephone interviews — the most effective way to document unreported abuse, he says. Typically, elder mistreatment data is gathered from complaints filed with Adult Protective Services.

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The National Research Council (NRC), in its 2003 report, Elder Mistreatment, described existing elder abuse research as having “a number of weaknesses,” including a lack of clear, consistent definitions and an absence of population-based data.

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