The Prevalence of Elder Bullying and Impact on LGBT Elders



This chapter reviews bullying and relational aggression among LGBT older adults. The intent of this chapter is to define and characterize late-life bullying in general and discuss unique manifestations of this phenomenon for LGBT elders. Special attention is given to peer victimization associated with intersectionality and microaggressions for this population, as well as common types of bullying and the impact bullying experiences have on emotional well-being and quality of life. Promising interventions to minimize bullying related to sexual orientation and gender identity in senior living environments are discussed and include civility training, bystander intervention, and policies and procedures that guide respectful social interactions and prohibit discriminatory actions.


Bullying Relational aggression Peer victimization Micro aggression Organizational intervention 


  1. Adelman, M., Gurevitch, J., deVries, B., & Blando, J. (2006). Openhouse: Community building and research in the LGBT aging population. In D. Kimmel, T. Rose, & S. David (Eds.), Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender aging: Research and clinical perspectives (pp. 247–264). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alcon, A., Burnes, K., & Frankel, M. (March, 2014). Social bullying: Training older adults to make a positive difference. Workshop presentation at the American Society on Aging, Aging in American Conference, San Diego, California.Google Scholar
  3. Association, American Health Care. (2006). The long term care survey. Washington, D. C.: Author.Google Scholar
  4. Barker, R. M. (2008). Gay and lesbian health disparities: Evidence and recommendation for elimination. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 2, 91–120.Google Scholar
  5. Bonifas, R. P. (2011). Understanding challenging social relationships in senior housing communities. Phoenix, Arizona: Unpublished raw data; Arizona State University.Google Scholar
  6. Bonifas, R. P., & Frankel, M. (March, 2012). Is it bullying? Strategies for assessing and intervening with older adults. Workshop presentation at the Aging in America Conference of the American Society on Aging, Washington, D. C.Google Scholar
  7. Bonifas, R. P., & Kramer, C. (November, 2011). Senior bullying in assisted living: Residents’ perspectives. In Poster presentation at the 64th annual scientific meeting of the gerontological society of America, Boston, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  8. Cook-Daniels, L. (2011). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender aging issues become federal concerns. Available at
  9. Erdley, S. D., Anklam, D. D., & Reardon, C. C. (2014). Breaking barriers and building bridges: Understanding the pervasive needs of older LGBT adults and the value of social work in health care. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 57(204), 362–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forni, P. M. (2002). Choosing civility: Twenty-five tools of considerate conduct. New York: Saint Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Kim, H. J., Emlet, C. A., Muraco, A., Erosheva, E. A., Hoy-Ellis, C. P., & Petry, H. (2011). The aging and health report: Disparities and resilience among lesbian, gay, bixexual, and transgender older adults. Seattle, WA: Institute for Multigenerational Health.Google Scholar
  12. Hawker, S. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 441–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hazelden Foundation. (2011). Bullying is a serious issue. Available at
  14. National Center on Elder Abuse. (n. d.). What is elder abuse? Retrieved from
  15. National Senior Citizens Law Center in collaboration with Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). (2011). LGBT Older Adults in long-term care facilities: Stories from the field. Retrieved from 54.
  16. Pillemer, K., Mosqueda, L., & Castle, N. (November, 2014). Resident to resident elder mistreatment: Findings from a large scale prevalence study. Symposium presentation at the 67th annual scientific meeting of the gerontological society of American, Washington D. C.Google Scholar
  17. Rayner, C., & Keashly, L. (2005). Bullying at work: A perspective from Britain and North America. In S. Fox & P. E. Spector (Eds.), Counterproductive work behavior: Investigations of actors and targets (pp. 271–296). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Reese, R. (March 22, 2012). Georgia woman, 87, accused of bullying neighbor. ABC News. Available at
  19. Stein, G., Beckerman, N., & Sherman, P. (2010). Lesbian and gay elders and long-term care: Identifying the unique psychosocial perspectives and challenges. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 53, 42–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  21. Sullivan, K. M. (2014). Acceptance in the domestic environment: The experience of senior housing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 57(2–4), 235–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Trompetter, H., Scholte, R., & Westerhof, G. (2011). Resident-to-resident relational aggression and subjective well-being in assisted living facilities. Aging and Mental Health, 15, 59–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

Personalised recommendations