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Gerontology 2012;58:258–268

Prevalence of Self-Neglect across Gender, Race, and Socioeconomic Status: Findings from the Chicago Health and Aging Project

Dong X.a · Simon M.A.b · Evans D.A.a
aRush University Medical Center, and bNorthwestern University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Self-neglect
  • Hoarding
  • Hygiene
  • Squalor
  • Environmental hazards
  • Population-based study

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background: Self-neglect is the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health and safety, and it is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, the scope of the self-neglect in the community population remains unclear. We examined the prevalence of self-neglect and its specific behaviors of hoarding, hygiene and other environmental hazards in a community-dwelling elderly population. Methods: A population-based cohort study conducted from 2007 to 2010 in a single cycle in a geographically defined community of 4 adjacent neighborhoods in Chicago, Ill., USA. Participant’s personal and home environment was rated on hoarding, personal hygiene, house in need of repair, unsanitary conditions, and inadequate utility. Prevalence estimates were presented across gender, race/ethnicity, education and income levels. Results: There were 4,627 older adults in the cohort. The prevalence of self-neglect and specific personal and environmental hazards varied significantly by race/ethnicity and by levels of education and income. For race/ethnicity, black older adults (men 13.2%; women 10.9%) had a significantly higher prevalence of self-neglect than white older adults (men 2.4%; women 2.6%). For those with less than high school education, the prevalence of the self-neglect was 14.7% in men and 10.9% in women. For those with an annual income of less than USD 15,000, the prevalence of self-neglect was 21.7% in men and 15.3% in women. Conclusion: The prevalence of self-neglect and specific behaviors of hoarding, poor hygiene, and other environmental hazards are higher among black older adults and among those with lower levels of education and income.

Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel

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    External Resources

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

XinQi Dong, MD, MPH
Rush Institute for Health Aging
1645 West Jackson, Suite 675
Chicago, IL 60612 (USA)
Tel. +1 312 942 3350, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Received: July 15, 2011
Accepted: September 23, 2011
Published online: December 21, 2011
Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 7, Number of References : 25

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Gerontology (International Journal of Experimental, Clinical, Behavioural and Technological Gerontology)

Vol. 58, No. 3, Year 2012 (Cover Date: April 2012)

Journal Editor: Wick G. (Innsbruck)
ISSN: 0304-324X (Print), eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

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