Preventive healthcare use, smoking, and alcohol use among Rhode Island women experiencing intimate partner violence

Stephenie C Lemon, Wendy Verhoek-Oftedahl, Edward F Donnelly
Journal of Women's Health & Gender-based Medicine 2002, 11 (6): 555-62

OBJECTIVE: Intimate partner violence (IPV) poses major health threats to women, including increased risk for several chronic health conditions. The impact of IPV on use of preventive health services is not well understood. Although several studies indicate that female victims of IPV have higher rates of alcohol abuse, this has not been replicated in population-based studies. The association of IPV with smoking has not been a major research focus. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between physical and psychological IPV in the past 12 months and preventive healthcare use, smoking, and alcohol use among women.

METHODS: Data on 1643 women aged 18-54 from the 1999 Rhode Island Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were analyzed. Logistic regression, controlling for age, race, marital status, education, insurance status, and functional disability, was used to model the associations of IPV with (1) checkups, (2) clinical breast examinations (CBEs), (3) Pap smear screening, (4) cigarette smoking, and (5) high-risk alcohol use.

RESULTS: Prevalence of physical IPV was 4.1%. The prevalence of psychological IPV, in the absence of physical IPV was 4.5%. Physical IPV was associated with receiving regular Pap smears odds ratio ([OR] = 2.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-5.70), current smoking (OR = 2.07, 95% CI 1.03-4.18), and high-risk alcohol use (OR = 4.85, 95% CI 2.02-11.60). Psychological IPV was associated with high-risk alcohol use (OR = 3.22, 95% CI 1.46-7.09).

CONCLUSIONS: Women experiencing IPV regularly access preventive healthcare, providing healthcare providers with opportunities to assess and counsel women for IPV in addition to smoking and high-risk alcohol use.

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