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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Association between Intimate Partner Violence and Health Behaviors of Female Emergency Department Patients

  • Author(s): Mathew, Anitha Elizabeth;
  • Marsh, Brittany;
  • Smith, L. Shakiyla;
  • Houry, Debra
  • et al.

Introduction: We assessed the correlation between intimate partner violence (IPV) and health behaviors, including seat belt use, smoke alarm in home, handgun access, body mass index, diet, and exercise. We hypothesized that IPV victims would be less likely to have healthy behaviors as compared to women with similar demographics.

Methods: All adult female patients who presented to 3 Atlanta-area emergency department waiting rooms on weekdays from 11AM to 7PM were asked to participate in a computer-based survey by trained research assistants. The Universal Violence Prevention Screen was used for IPV identification. The survey also assessed seatbelt use, smoke alarm presence, handgun access, height, weight, exercise, and diet. We used chi-square tests of association, odds ratios, and independent t-tests tomeasure associations between variables.

Results: Participants ranged from 18 to 68 years, with a mean of 38 years. Out of 1,452 respondents, 155 patients self-identified as white (10.7%), and 1,218 as black (83.9%); 153 out of 832 women who were in a relationship in the prior year (18.4%) screened positive for IPV. We found significant relationships between IPV and not wearing a seatbelt (p,0.01), handgun access (p,0.01), and eating unhealthy foods (p,0.01).

Conclusion: Women experiencing IPV are more likely to exhibit risky health behaviors than women who are not IPV victims. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(3):278–282.]


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