VICTIMIZATION OF THE ELDERLY: THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL ATTITUDES ON THE CRIMINAL VICTIMIZATION OF THE ELDERLY
As the elderly offender poses a different set of problems and issues for the criminal justice system from those associated with both youth offenders and younger adult offenders, so to does the elderly victim pose a special set of problems and issues that must be addressed by the criminal justice system. This research examines the effects of social attitudes on the victimization of elderly persons. For purposes of this research, age 55 and over is considered to be elderly (Fattah & Sacco, 1990, pp. 19-20).
Social perceptions of the elderly derive from both actual changes in individuals as aging occurs, and misleading and false interpretations and representations of such changes by younger persons (Bazargan, 1994, pp. 99-115). Adaptation to the aging process by individuals, and perceptual representations of older persons in society are examined.
All life-stage theories of human development are concerned with the aging process (Heikkinen, 1993, pp. 269-277). Within this context, three types of aging are involved. Biological aging refers to the manner in which the body functions over time, while psychological aging involves the individual's perceptions of the aging process, and social aging reflects the ways individuals relate aging their own unique society. Adjustments are required by individuals in relation to each facet of the aging process in order to enhance the probability of their continued well-being.
An assumption central to cognitive theory is that an individual's emotional and behavioral responses to events in one's life are greatly influenced by one's own interpretations and evaluations of those events (Wong & Watt, 1991, pp. 272-279). Thus, adapting to life changes it a function both of a person's interpretation of an event, and her or his basic beliefs used in evaluating the event, regardless of the pe...