Partner violence intervention in the busy primary care environment

Am J Prev Med. 2002 Feb;22(2):84-91. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(01)00407-x.


Background: Few studies of intimate partner violence (IPV) interventions have been conducted in primary care settings. Based on recommendations, we implemented a multifaceted IPV intervention that included a sticker placed in medical charts listing screening questions, routine IPV screening by nursing staff, clinician follow-up for women screening positive, and referral to on-site services.

Methods: A prospective cohort study compared multiple measures collected at the intervention site and a center providing usual care. Measures included self-reported IPV, documented IPV screening and IPV experiences, and quantity of IPV materials taken from the centers.

Results: Of 746 charts reviewed in a random chart review conducted at the intervention site, 36.6% were tagged for IPV screening, and of those tagged, 86.1% had documentation of screening. Approximately 5% (11 of 235) of women screened positive for IPV; about half had documented clinician follow-up and referral to on-site services. Comparison of survey responses and medical record reviews (intervention site) indicated that the screening protocol primarily identified severely abused women (sensitivity 80%, specificity 98%), but rarely identified women experiencing low to moderate levels of abuse. IPV brochures were taken from the intervention site at a rate of 51 per 1000 visits versus 29 per 1000 visits taken from the control site.

Conclusions: Utilizing screening as the only gateway to on-site services limited access for many IPV victims. The removal of IPV brochures from examination rooms suggests that providing contact information for self-referral to on-site services may improve access.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spouse Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population