Introduction: Spouse/partner violence is a major public health problem that affects 3 to 6 million women per year. Many studies show that the majority of health care practitioners do not detect or respond to cases of spouse/partner violence in their practice. Research suggests that there are potential barriers to reporting or detecting this problem. A barrier often cited is lack of proper education or training regarding spouse/partner violence. The objective of this study was to determine if physicians who received spouse/partner violence education at various stages of their careers were more likely to screen patients for spouse/partner violence.
Methods: A survey was developed and administered to family physicians and obstetricians/gynecologists in Virginia. The data were analyzed to determine screening practice and spouse/partner violence education among respondents. Four different educational opportunities were analyzed to determine potential determinants of screening.
Results: All respondents who had spouse/partner violence education were more likely to screen every patient than those who were lacking this education. Receiving lectures during residency training was found to be a significant predictor of screening every patient for spouse/partner violence among respondents.
Discussion: Screening every patient for exposure to spouse/partner violence is the ideal situation. This study indicates that education about spouse/partner violence has a significant impact on screening tendencies if provided during a physician's residency program.