We investigated prevalence and risk factors associated with physical abuse among a tricultural population of 501 pregnant women who attended a public prenatal clinic. Twenty percent (98/501) reported being physically abused; 29% (28/98) stated that abuse occurred during pregnancy. More white non-Hispanic women reported previous abuse than did black or Hispanic women. Battered women more frequently were divorced or separated, were of greater parity, smoked, used alcohol, or admitted to illicit drug use than did women who were not battered. An increased risk of previous physical abuse was observed among white non-Hispanic and black women who used alcohol (odds ratios = 3.0 and 6.0) or drugs (odds ratios = 2.1 and 3.7) but not among Hispanic women. Odds ratios of 4.7 for cocaine use among white non-Hispanic women, 4.7 for marijuana use among black women, and 5.8 for tobacco use among Hispanic women were observed. This is the first study to report the effects of race on the association between physical abuse of pregnant women and substance use.
PIP: This study investigated the prevalence and risk factors associated with physical abuse among a large tricultural population of White non-Hispanic, Black, and Hispanic pregnant women in the US. A total of 501 pregnant women (47.5% White non-Hispanic, 28.1% Black, and 24% Hispanic) attending a public prenatal clinic were interviewed. Results showed that 20% of the women questioned reported physical abuse; 29% were abused during pregnancy. Incidence of previous abuse was higher in White non-Hispanic women than in Black or Hispanic women. Abused women were more likely to be divorced, admit to illicit drug use, use alcohol, and smoke compared to nonabused women. An increased risk of previous physical abuse was observed among White non-Hispanic and Black women who used alcohol (OR = 3.0 and 6.0) or drugs (OR = 2.1 and 3.7) but not among Hispanic women. Relative risk of cocaine use was 4.7 among White non-Hispanic women, 4.7 for marijuana use among Black women, and 5.8 for tobacco use among Hispanic women.