Nursing aides' attitudes to elder abuse in nursing homes: The effect of work stressors and burnout

Shiri Shinan-Altman, Miri Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Nursing aides' attitudes condoning elder abuse are a possible risk factor for executing abusive behaviors against elder residents of long-term care facilities but have been studied infrequently.Purpose:The purpose of the study was to assess nursing aides' attitudes that condone abusive behaviors toward elderly people, as well as the relationship of these attitudes to demographic variables, work stressors (role conflict, role ambiguity, and work overload), burnout, and perceived control, based on the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1988, Attitudes, personality and behavior. Milton Keynes: Open University Press)Design and Methods:Two hundred and eight nursing aides from 18 nursing homes in Israel completed demographic, work stressors, burnout, and perceived control questionnaires and a case vignette questionnaire to test attitudes condoning elder abuse.Results:The mean score of the attitudes condoning abusive behaviors was relatively high at 3.24 (SD = 0.59) on a 1-4 scale. Condoning abusive behaviors were closely associated with higher levels of work stressors, burnout, and low income. Multiple regression analyses revealed that demographic variables, work stressors, burnout, and perceived control explained 12% of the variance of condoning abusive behaviors among the nursing aides. Of these, role ambiguity, role conflict, and burnout were significantly associated with attitudes condoning abusive behaviors. In addition, burnout partially mediated the relationship between work stressors and attitudes condoning elder abuse.Conclusions:As nursing aides' attitudes condoning elder abuse may influence their actual behaviors, training and supervision programs should be developed to reduce work stressors and burnout and to modify these attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-684
Number of pages11
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute of Gerontology and Human Development and Eshel , the Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel .


  • Attitudes toward elder abuse
  • Burnout
  • Long-term facilities
  • Theory of planned behavior
  • Work stressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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