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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204513 Find in a Library
Title: Physicians' Screening Practices for Female Partner Abuse During Prenatal Visits
Journal: Maternal and Child Health Journal  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:June 2000  Pages:141-148
Author(s): Linda Chamberlain; Katherine A. Perham-Hester
Editor(s): Milton Kotelchuck Ph.D.
Date Published: June 2000
Page Count: 8
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the screening practices of physicians providing prenatal care for women who have experienced partner abuse and the relationship between potential barriers and the screening for partner abuse.
Abstract: Given the high likelihood that a woman will access health care services during her pregnancy, physicians providing prenatal care are in a strategic position to screen for partner abuse. However, notwithstanding recommendations and guidelines that advocate for routine screening, there is considerable evidence that screening for abuse is not routine in the prenatal care setting. In addition, there are hypothesized barriers to screening for partner abuse which have been described in literature, but the relationships between these barriers and physicians’ screening practices have not been explored. The objectives of this study were to investigate screening practices for partner abuse among primary care physicians providing prenatal care in Alaska, determine whether physicians’ screening practices varied between the first prenatal visit and follow-up prenatal visits, examine how physician characteristics may influence physicians’ prenatal screening practices, and explore the relationship between hypothesized barriers to screening for abuse and physicians’ prenatal screening practices. All physicians in the specialties of family practice, general practice, obstetrics-gynecology, and internal medicine that were licensed to practice in the State of Alaska and identified from the 1994 Alaska State Medial Association Physicians Directory were surveyed. The study sample consisted of 297 primary care physicians. The study found that the majority of physicians did not screen routinely at first prenatal or follow-up prenatal visits. Physicians were less likely to screen routinely at follow-up prenatal visits compared to the first prenatal visit. The study found that factors described in the literature as potential barriers to screening were not predictive of physicians having screened at prenatal visits. The results suggest that many physicians are not motivated to routinely screen for abuse. The data from the study provided baseline information to implement a training initiative, the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project. The data demonstrates the growing recognition of domestic violence as a reproductive health issue among physicians and the potential for universal screening in the prenatal setting. References
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Abused women; Alaska; Dating Violence; Domestic assault; Healthcare; Medical and dental services; Medical evaluation; Physicians role in crime prevention; Pregnant women
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