Screening for abuse: barriers and opportunities

Health Care Women Int. 2001 Jun;22(4):349-62. doi: 10.1080/07399330152398891.


Domestic abuse is the leading cause of injuries and death among women of childbearing age in the United States. The broad purpose of this research is to discover how pregnant women's psychological and behavioral responses to abuse affect birth outcomes. To select a diverse sample of women, we identified 8 prenatal care sites and completed the human subjects approval process with each. Rates of screening for abuse range from all but 12 women over a 2-1/2-year period at one site to no screening for abuse at another site. In this article, we will review pertinent literature and discuss the supports and barriers we observed when implementing an abuse screening program using the Abuse Assessment Screen, a well-tested and valid clinical instrument. Suggestions will be made for improving the screening rates at those sites where screening is absent or inconsistent.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care / organization & administration*
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Support
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*