Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Stephen L. O’Keefe

Second Advisor

Alan S. Cameron

Third Advisor

John J. Kampsnider

Fourth Advisor

James T. Ranson


Elder abuse, elder neglect/elder self-neglect, and elder exploitation, often referred to as elder maltreatment, is a present reality in the world today. Available research is limited since this topic has been formally recognized only since 1970. To date, limited progress has been made in understanding what elder maltreatment entails and its scope. The purpose of the present study was to test the knowledge of urban and rural West Virginia senior citizens (ages 55 and above) on the given topic. One-hundred and nine senior citizens from four senior citizen centers in WV (two urban and two rural) were included in this study. These senior citizens completed a packet consisting of a Letter of Consent sheet, an Informational Data sheet, a Questionnaire sheet, and five different Case Sample sheets. A score was derived from the packet for each participant. Analyzing the data by employing the 3x2 Chi-Square statistic for each of three hypotheses, it was found that all three were significant. Thus, results were as follows: 1) Higher knowledge levels exist in urban versus rural WV counties on the given topic, 2) A higher level of social activity correlates with a higher level of knowledge on the topic, and 3) willingness to report on family member perpetrators of elder maltreatment is greater from those participants with a higher knowledge level on the topic than those participants with a lower knowledge level on the topic. In summation, the present study found that a need for information, regarding elder maltreatment, is greatest among the rural population and those individuals with few social contacts.


Older people – Abuse of – Research – West Virginia.