Domestic abuse in pregnancy: A comparison of a self-completed domestic abuse questionnaire with a directed interview

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Nov;181(5 Pt 1):1049-51. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(99)70079-7.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the results of a standardized self-completed domestic abuse questionnaire with those of a directed interview in the identification of domestic abuse in pregnant patients.

Study design: All patients with a first prenatal visit between March 1 and September 30, 1997, were assessed for self-reported domestic abuse with a standardized domestic abuse questionnaire. This was followed by a directed interview that involved verbal review of the standardized domestic abuse questionnaire. Self-reported domestic abuse was defined as any positive response to the domestic abuse questionnaire or the directed interview. The number of patients with a positive response to either the standardized questionnaire or the directed interview, or both, were recorded. The 2 techniques were compared by the McNemar chi(2) test. The group demographics and characteristics were evaluated.

Results: Among the 224 patients evaluated, a total of 36% (n = 80) of the patients reported domestic abuse by either method. The standardized domestic abuse questionnaire identified 85% (n = 68) compared with 59% (n = 47) by a directed interview (P =.03). The use of the standardized domestic abuse questionnaire and the directed interview in parallel identified an additional 15% (n = 12) of patients with domestic abuse.

Conclusion: A standardized domestic abuse questionnaire is superior to a directed interview in identifying self-reported domestic abuse in pregnancy. Utilizing both methods in parallel further increases the number of patients identified.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Battered Women* / psychology
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Pregnancy* / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*