The role of race/ethnicity in the relationship between emergency department use and intimate partner violence: findings from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Sherry Lipsky, Raul Caetano
American Journal of Public Health 2007, 97 (12): 2246-52

OBJECTIVES: We examined the relationship between intimate partner violence victimization among women in the general population and emergency department use. We sought to discern whether race/ethnicity moderates this relationship and to explore these relationships in race/ethnic-specific models.

METHODS: We used data on non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black, and His-panic married or cohabiting women from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Women who reported intimate partner violence victimization were 1.5 times more likely than were nonvictims to use the emergency department, after we accounted for race/ethnicity and substance use. In race/ethnic-specific analyses, only Hispanic victims were more likely than their nonvictim counterparts to use the emergency department (AOR = 3.68; 95% CI = 1.89, 7.18), whereas substance use factors varied among groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the emergency department is an opportune setting to screen for intimate partner violence victimization, especially among Hispanic women. Future research should focus on why Hispanic victims are more likely to use the emergency department compared with nonvictims, with regard to socioeconomic and cultural determinants of health care utilization.

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