Mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence to police: views of physicians in California. (1/730)

OBJECTIVES: This study examined physicians' perspectives on mandatory reporting of intimate partner violence to police. METHODS: We surveyed a stratified random sample of California physicians practicing emergency, family, and internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology. RESULTS: An estimated 59% of California primary care and emergency physicians (n = 508, 71% response rate) reported that they might not comply with the reporting law if a patient objects. Primary care physicians reported lower compliance. Most physicians agreed that the legislation has potential risks, raises ethical concerns, and may provide benefits. CONCLUSIONS: Physicians' stated noncompliance and perceived negative consequences raise the possibility that California's mandatory reporting law is problematic and ineffective.  (+info)

Physical abuse during pregnancy: prevalence and risk factors. (2/730)

BACKGROUND: Violence during pregnancy is a health and social problem that poses particular risks to the woman and her fetus. To address the lack of Canadian information on this issue, the authors studied the prevalence and predictors of physical abuse in a sample of pregnant women in Saskatoon. METHODS: Of 728 women receiving prenatal services through the Saskatoon District public health system between Apr. 1, 1993, and Mar. 31, 1994, 605 gave informed consent to participate in the study and were interviewed in the second trimester. Of these, 543 were interviewed again late in the third trimester. During the initial interview, information was collected on the women's sociodemographic characteristics, the current pregnancy, health practices and psychosocial variables. The second interview focused on the women's experience of physical abuse during the pregnancy and during the preceding year, the demographic characteristics and the use of alcohol or illicit drugs by their male partner. RESULTS: In all, 31 (5.7%) of the women reported experiencing physical abuse during pregnancy; 46 (8.5%) reported experiencing it within the 12 months preceding the second interview. Of the 31 women 20 (63.3%) reported that the perpetrator was her husband, boyfriend or ex-husband. Although all ethnic groups of women suffered abuse, aboriginal women were at greater risk than nonaboriginal women (adjusted odds ratio 2.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-7.8). Women whose partner had a drinking problem were 3.4 times (95% CI 1.2-9.9) more likely to have been abused than women whose partner did not have a drinking problem. Perceived stress and number of negative life events in the preceding year were also predictors of abuse. Abused women tended to report having fewer people with whom they could talk about personal issues or get together; however, they reported socializing with a larger number of people in the month before the second interview than did the women who were not abused. INTERPRETATION: Physical abuse affects a significant minority of pregnant women and is associated with stress, lack of perceived support and a partner with a drinking problem.  (+info)

Sexual intercourse, abuse and pregnancy among adolescent women: does sexual orientation make a difference? (3/730)

CONTEXT: Although a limited amount of research has retrospectively explored the childhood and adolescent heterosexual experiences of lesbians, little is known about the prevalence of heterosexual behavior and related risk factors or about pregnancy histories among lesbian and bisexual teenagers. METHODS: A secondary analysis was conducted using responses from a subsample of 3,816 students who completed the 1987 Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey. Behaviors, risk factors and pregnancy histories were compared among adolescents who identified themselves as lesbian or bisexual, as unsure of their sexual orientation and as heterosexual. RESULTS: Overall, bisexual or lesbian respondents were about as likely as heterosexual women ever to have had intercourse (33% and 29%, respectively), but they had a significantly higher prevalence of pregnancy (12%) and physical or sexual abuse (19-22%) than heterosexual or unsure adolescents. Among sexually experienced respondents, bisexual or lesbian and heterosexual women reported greater use of ineffective contraceptives (12-15% of those who used a method) than unsure adolescents (9%); bisexual or lesbian respondents were the most likely to have frequent intercourse (22%, compared with 15-17% of the other groups). In the sample overall, among those who were sexually experienced and among those who had ever been pregnant, bisexual or lesbian women were the most likely to have engaged in prostitution during the previous year. CONCLUSIONS: Providers of reproductive health care and family planning services should not assume that pregnant teenagers are heterosexual or that adolescents who say they are bisexual, lesbian or unsure of their sexual orientation are not in need of family planning counseling. Further research should explore the interactions between adolescent sexual identity development and sexual risk behaviors.  (+info)

The effectiveness of an abuse assessment protocol in public health prenatal clinics. (4/730)

OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated whether incorporation of an abuse assessment protocol into the routine procedures of the prenatal clinics of a large urban public health department led to increased referral for and assessment, identification, and documentation of abuse. METHODS: Evaluation was conducted at 3 matched prenatal clinics serving a total of 12,000 maternity patients per year. Two clinics used the abuse protocol and 1 did not. An audit was performed at the clinics on a randomly selected sample of 540 maternity patient charts for the 15 months before the protocol was initiated and of 540 records for the 15 months after the protocol was introduced. Ninety-six percent of the patients represented in the sample were Latina. RESULTS: At the clinics using the protocol, abuse assessment increased from 0 to 88%. Detection of abuse increased from 0.8% to 7%. There were no changes at the comparison clinic. CONCLUSIONS: Incorporation of an abuse assessment protocol into the routine procedures of public health department prenatal clinics increases the assessment, identification, and documentation of and referral for abuse among pregnant women. An abuse protocol should be a routine part of maternity care.  (+info)

"I was always on guard"--an exploration of woman abuse in a group of women with musculoskeletal pain. (5/730)

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to explore experiences of abuse of women, and the way it was described and hinted at, in a group of women suffering from biomedically undefined long-term musculo-skeletal pain (UMSD). METHOD: Twenty women patients participated. Data were gained through repeated semi-structured interviews conducted over 2 years and qualitatively analysed according to grounded theory. RESULTS: Eleven participants had experienced abuse. Abuse was difficult to disclose due to shame, fear of the listener's preconceptions and fear of the abuser. In the interviews it was diminished, 'sugar-coated' and renamed. However, the women gave hints of abuse before avowing it. 'An understanding listener', who was expected to apprehend the hints, ask about abuse and confirm that it was valid to talk about it, was described as a precondition for disclosure. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that it is important to explore woman abuse when investigating and treating UMSD. When there are hints of abuse, one should avoid blaming, stand by, be patient and ask about abuse even if the woman has once negated it. Fear of the abuser permeated the narratives and it is therefore suggested that doctors must consider carefully the danger involved.  (+info)

Domestic violence in northern India. (6/730)

This study examined the prevalence and characteristics of wife abuse as reported by nearly 6,700 married men living in five districts of northern India during 1995-1996. In addition, associations between wife abuse and sociodemographic factors were investigated to enable two theoretical/conceptual perspectives regarding abuse to be evaluated: that abuse is more common among families under stress and among more "private" families. The district-specific percentages of men who reported physically abusing their wives ranged from 18% to 45%, with 18-40% of the men in each district having had nonconsensual sex with their wives and 4-9% having physically forced their wives to have sex. The authors used logistic regression analyses to control for a variety of sociodemographic variables and found positive associations between wife abuse and stress-related factors, including the husband having a low educational level, the couple living in poverty, the husband being young when he first lived with his wife, and the couple having multiple children. Contrariwise, there was no strong empirical support for the idea that wife abuse may be more common in more "private" families.  (+info)

Women battering in primary care practice. (7/730)

BACKGROUND: The organization of health care system to emphasize managed care has placed the primary care provider in an ideal position to assess the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on the health of women. Primary care practice provides a setting in which women can develop an ongoing relationship with their health care provider in which they feel safe to discuss IPV and possible options to improve their lives. Women's health and safety could be dramatically improved if primary care providers were prepared to assess, intervene and appropriately refer women who are in violent relationships. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this article is to describe the prevalence of intimate partner violence in primary care populations and review the known physical, mental health and pregnancy consequences of abuse as well as discuss the implications of intimate partner violence on primary care practice.  (+info)

Physical and nonphysical partner abuse and other risk factors for low birth weight among full term and preterm babies: a multiethnic case-control study. (8/730)

This study sought to determine the risk of low birth weight from intimate partner abuse. The case-control design was used in a purposively ethnically stratified multisite sample of 1,004 women interviewed during the 72 hours after delivery between 1991 and 1996. Abuse was determined by the Index of Spouse Abuse and a modification of the Abuse Assessment Screen. Separate analyses were conducted for 252 full term and 326 preterm infants. The final multiple logistic regression models were constructed to determine relative risk for low birth weight after controlling for other complications of pregnancy. Physical and nonphysical abuse as determined by the Index of Spouse Abuse were both significant risk factors for low birth weight for the full term infants but not the preterm infants on a bivariate level. However, the risk estimates decreased in significance in the adjusted models. Although today's short delivery stays make it difficult to assess for abuse, it is necessary to screen for domestic violence at delivery, especially for women who may not have obtained prenatal care. The unadjusted significant risk for low birth weight that became nonsignificant when adjusted suggests that other abuse-related maternal health problems (notably low weight gain and poor obstetric history) are confounders (or mediators) that help to explain the relation between abuse and low birth weight in full term infants.  (+info)