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Disclosing violence to primary care or obstetrics/gynecology physicians most beneficial
Date:7/7/2008

(Boston, MA)Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) found that patients who disclose intimate partner violence (IPV) to their clinicians of any type did not experience serious harm. However, those who disclosed IPV in a primary care or obstetrics/gynecology setting received the most benefit. The findings, which appear in the Biomedical Central Public Health Journal, also conclude that disclosures made in an emergency department setting were more problematic from the patient's point of view.

Researchers studied 27 IPV survivors recruited through community support programs in Massachusetts. The participants were given in-depth interviews to ascertain types of medical encounters relating to abuse, with encounters described as either single interactions or continued contact over a period of time.

Participants described disclosure of IPV to medical personnel. They also reported episodes in which they were asked about or treated for an IPV related problem in which they did not disclose. The researchers determined the medical specialty in which the encounters occurred, and limited their focus to emergency department, obstetrical/gynecological care, and primary care. The researchers also labeled whether harms occurred as a result of any disclosure as well as the perceived helpfulness (beneficial or not).

Of the 59 visits studied; 23 were in a primary care setting, 17 in the emergency department and 19 in obstetrics/gynecology. Participants reported disclosure IPV to a clinician in more than half of the encounters, and actively did not disclose in 30 percent, while sensing the clinician's knowledge without their own disclosure in 10 percent. No situations of any type resulted in serious harms. The vast majority of disclosures were deemed beneficial, whereas only a third of the non-disclosure were considered beneficial. However, in the emergency department setting, only one quar
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Contact: Allison Rubin
allison.rubin@bmc.org
617-638-8491
Boston University
Source:Eurekalert

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