How well prepared are Texas dental hygienists to recognize and report elderly abuse? Academic Article uri icon


  • The elderly are the nation's fastest-growing population, and the number of elder abuse victims has reached epidemic proportions. In Texas, dentists and dental hygienists are mandated by law to report suspected abuse. This study surveyed Texas dental hygienists regarding elder abuse education received in dental hygiene school and post-graduation. Respondents were also asked to self-assess their knowledge level in recognizing the six types of elder abuse and to answer questions regarding Texas law and mandatory reporting of abuse. A survey designed for this study was mailed to 780 Texas licensed dental hygienists, representing 10 percent of the Texas dental hygiene population. Respondents were selected using a computer-generated random sample. A second mailing was sent to nonrespondents to prevent response bias. Results were analyzed using Statistical Programs for Social Scientists (SPSS). Over one-half of the respondents (56 percent) stated that abuse education was not part of their dental hygiene school curriculum. Only 46 percent of the respondents who replied that abuse education had been included in the curriculum were educated on elder abuse. A majority of respondents stated they lacked knowledge in recognizing the six types of elder abuse, and 81 percent of respondents reported being unknowledgeable about reporting elder abuse. The current status of elder abuse education in dental hygiene programs and post-graduation is insufficient. Dental hygienists have an obligation to become knowledgeable in recognizing and reporting elder abuse in order to provide complete care for their patients.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Educ

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphree, K. R., Campbell, P. R., Gutmann, M. E., Plichta, S. B., Nunn, M. E., McCann, A. L., & Gibson, G

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Murphree, Kellie R||Campbell, Patricia R||Gutmann, Marylou E||Plichta, Stacey B||Nunn, Martha E||McCann, Ann L||Gibson, Gretchen

publication date

  • November 2002