Definition of financial abuse: A culture-centered construct among korean elders

Hee Yun Lee, Sang Eun Lee, Hyun Sook Yoon, Hyojin Im

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3 Scopus citations


One of the critical issues in addressing financial abuse in Korea is the absence of an appropriate definition voiced by the elderly. This study is designed to explore how Korean elders define financial abuse in given social and cultural contexts. Face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted with 124 elders, aged 60 to 79, residing in Korea. The results of qualitative data analysis using grounded theory revealed that a vast majorty of Korean elderly respondents defined financial abuse as lack of provision of financial support to elder parents, and a small portion of respondents defined it as financial exploitation by adult children. The definition of financial abuse reflects cultural beliefs based on filial piety about financial expectations within the parent-child relationship. Education on financial abuse for both elders and their adult children and establishment of income support programs are urgently needed efforts to increase the financial well-being of elderly Koreans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 15 March 2011; revised 26 July 2011; accepted 21 September 2011. This research was supported by the GOAL-NURI program, funded by the Korea Research Foundation in Korea. Hyojin Im is now at the School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University. Address correspondence to Hee Yun Lee, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 105 Peters Hall, 1404 Gortner Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108. E-mail:


  • Korean elders
  • culture
  • definition
  • elder mistreatment
  • filial piety
  • social welfare policy


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