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Verbal elder abuse in India: a descriptive phenomenological study

Avanish Bhai Patel (Alliance School of Liberal Arts, Alliance University, Bangalore, India.)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 1 September 2022




Verbal abuse of the aged people in later life is a matter of grave concern in contemporary times. Aged people are abused by family members, relatives and neighbors in the form of yelling, taunting, swearing and threats, among other things. These abusive behaviors have the greatest influence on their social standing and well-being, and they cause society and families to dismantle their social networks as a result. This study aims to understand the nature of verbal elder abuse as a social phenomenon under the theoretical framework of sociocultural paradigm and examines the causes.


The descriptive phenomenology method has been applied in this study. The study has been conducted on a sample of 60 elderly living in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. The concern of using descriptive phenomenology in the present study is to understand the nature of verbal abuse against the elderly systematically by exploring cultural, situational and social aspects of verbal abuse in Indian society. This method analyzes the reality behind the verbal elder abuse as a social phenomenon and relationship between elderly and their abusers.


The study finds an increase in verbal elder abuse in Indian families, which can range from psychological torture to physical torture, and includes insults, humiliation and neglecting the needs of the elderly for food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. The study also points out that reduction in attachment is as a responsible factor for verbal abuse with the elderly in modern times.


This is an original paper. This paper talks about the most concerning issue of verbal abuse which is faced by aged people in their family and society. Basically, this paper has applied the descriptive phenomenological method for the analysis of verbal elder abuse as a social phenomenon in the sociocultural context of Indian society.



Patel, A.B. (2022), "Verbal elder abuse in India: a descriptive phenomenological study", Working with Older People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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