An international collaborative study comparing Swedish and Japanese nurses’ reactions to elder abuse


C. Erlingsson: e-mail:


erlingsson c., ono m., sasaki a. & saveman b.-I. (2012) An international collaborative study comparing Swedish and Japanese nurses’ reactions to elder abuse. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(1), 56–68.


Aim.  This paper reports an analysis of aggregated data from two national studies on Swedish community-based nurses’ and Japanese Public Health Nurses’ responses to hypothetical elder abuse cases.

Background.  Elder abuse is an under-researched area despite being globally recognized as a serious and escalating problem. Yet research, adding needed socio-cultural perspectives to current knowledge has been limited.

Methods.  Eighty-one community-based nurses in Sweden and 124 Public Health Nurses in Japan responded to a questionnaire based on three hypothetical elder abuse cases. Swedish and Japanese results (data collection 2006–2007) were combined and the aggregated data were analysed using manifest and qualitative content analyses.

Results.  Nurses’ response patterns in the aggregated data were similar across all three hypothetical cases and within themes Awareness, Assessment and Intervention. However, there were also noteworthy differences between Swedish and Japanese responses, e.g. Swedish responses were generally practical, action oriented and involved increased levels of suspicion and personal intervention to achieve increased control; whereas Japanese responses concerned better understanding that involved the family members and their situation, focusing on interventions grounded in collaboration.

Conclusion.  Despite cultural differences, responses of Swedish and Japanese nurses were very similar which points to a global ‘humanness’ of the problem of, and nurses’ responses to, elder abuse. Results endorse the value of international collaborations that give information and inspiration to nursing colleagues across cultural boundaries. Results also give hope that global tools for elder abuse assessment and intervention can be developed.