Physician interaction with battered women: the women's perspective

Arch Fam Med. 1998 Nov-Dec;7(6):575-82. doi: 10.1001/archfami.7.6.575.


Background: Programs that train health professionals to identify and treat battered women have not previously incorporated systematically obtained advice from battered women to guide physician behavior.

Objectives: To survey battered women to (1) rate the desirability of specific physician behaviors, (2) describe their actual experiences with physicians while seeking abuse-related medical services, and (3) examine relationships between participants' demographics, history of victimization, history of seeking medical help, and ratings of physician behavior.

Participants: One hundred fifteen women who had been battered by a male partner, recruited from support groups and other battered women's programs in a 5-county area in southeastern Wisconsin.

Methods: Self-report survey of demographic information, relationship history, observations of physician behavior, and ratings of desirability for those behaviors. Analysis used cross-tabulations, chi2, and multiple t tests with Bonferonni adjustments for multiple comparisons.

Results: Women identified specific physician behaviors as desirable and undesirable. Desirability ratings did not differ with history of victimization, history of seeking medical help, or most other demographic variables. African American and white women rated a few physician behaviors differently.

Conclusions: We identified discrete sets of desirable and undesirable physician behaviors. Further research is needed to clarify racial differences found in this study. Findings can help guide both clinical practice and the development of physician training curricula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wisconsin