Background: Wife abuse, acknowledged as a critical problem in our society, is often undetected by family physicians. The purpose of this study was to identify the problems and potential solutions encountered by family physicians in the identification and treatment of wife abuse in London, Ontario.
Methods: Family physicians in London were recruited to participate in four focus groups. The groups' discussions were audiotaped and transcribed. The transcripts were analyzed using qualitative methodology to determine relevant themes.
Results: Thirty-two physicians (16 male and 16 female) participated in the focus groups. The majority were in group practice (81%). The average number of years in practice was 11.75. An analysis of the focus group session identified two major clinical themes with subcategories: (1) physician issues (ie, identification, treatment); and (2) patient issues (ie, barriers to identification, symptom presentation).
Conclusions: The focus groups served as an effective method to engage family physicians in isolating their own as well as their patients' difficulties in confronting this serious problem.