Objectives: Partner violence is linked to cervical cancer and other gynaecological conditions. However, results of current research into associations between partner violence and cervical cancer screening have been inconclusive. Therefore, the current research investigates the association between partner violence and inadequate cervical cancer screening.
Methods: Participants were 7312 women aged 45-50 years who responded to the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health population-based surveys in 1996 and 2004. The women self-reported frequency of Pap smears via mailed questionnaire.
Results: Women who had experienced partner violence at least eight years earlier, compared with those who had not, were more likely to report current inadequate screening (OR: 1.42, 95%CI: 1.21; 1.66). After adjusting for known barriers to preventive screening (education, income management, marital status, general practitioner visits, chronic conditions) and depression, partner violence was independently associated with inadequate Pap tests (OR: 1.20, 95%CI: 1.01; 1.42). This association was no longer significant once access to a GP of choice was added to the model (OR: 1.18, 95%CI: 0.99; 1.40).
Conclusions: The significance of this study lies not just in confirming a negative relationship between cervical cancer screening and partner violence, but in suggesting that good access to a physician of choice appears to significantly decrease this negative relationship.