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Fear of crime and older adults: a metanarrative review of the literature

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Older adults have been described as experiencing irrational fear of crime with debilitating effects on the quality of their lives. Recent research suggests fear of crime by older adults may have been over-stated due to conceptual, methodological, and theoretical weaknesses. It has been argued that fear of crime has a “murky history,” “shaky foundations,” and “a constructed, contingent, and ultimately contestable” nature. A metanarrative review of the literature was completed in order to identify where the “fear of crime debate has been, where it presently sits, and where it might travel in the future.” The review utilized nine electronic data bases up to 2013 including Ageline, PsychInfo, Wiley Library, PsychArticles, Avery Index, Cochrane Central, ProQuest Dissertations, Web of Science, and SFU Library. Articles addressing definitional, conceptual, measurement and theoretical issues are included. The results strongly suggest that irrational fear of crime is a very limited experience for older adults.
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