The purpose of this paper is to reflect on how qualitative approaches can improve a prevalence study on older adults’ violence. The paper describes how qualitative data can help frame a complex and multidimensional problem, such as older adults’ violence, within the culture where it happens and therefore prevent two risks present in prevalence studies: underestimation and overestimation.
To adequately measure violence and violent behaviours the authors first conducted four focus groups with the target population – older adults aged 60 and over – and 13 in-depth interviews with older adult victims of violence. Through content analysis of focus groups and in-depth interviews the authors sought to understand how violence is perceived, defined and limited by the general population and by victims.
By employing qualitative methods the authors were able to operationalise violence, decide upon and select specific behaviours to measure, rephrase questions and develop strategies to approach the general population through telephone interviews.
The qualitative approaches helped reduce participants bias in the prevalence study and therefore to minimise the risks of underestimation and overestimation.
The study exemplifies how assessing quantitatively to a sensitive subject requires taking into account the perspective of the target population through a qualitative approach.
This work was supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) in Portugal (grant PTDC/CS-SOC/110311/2009).
Gil, A., Santos, A. and Kislaya, I. (2015), "Development of a culture sensitive prevalence study on older adults violence: qualitative methods contribution", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 126-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-11-2014-0036Download as .RIS
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