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Domestic violence victims have higher health costs for years after abuse ends
Date:4/26/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio Victims of domestic violence endure significantly higher health costs than other women for three years after the abuse ends, a new study finds.

Abuse victims had health care costs that averaged more than $1,200 above non-abused women for the first two years after the abuse ended and about $400 above others in the third year.

"Women may continue to experience physical and emotional consequences even years after their abuse ends, and that is reflected in their health care costs," said Amy Bonomi, co-author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

The study was led by Paul Fishman of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. The study appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and will be published in a future print issue.

The study is the first to look at how health care costs of abused women change from year to year after abuse ends. This study looked at costs during the years of abuse and then during each year up to 10 years later.

The results suggest that domestic abuse acts on health care costs much like chronic health conditions, Bonomi said.

"The prolonged impact of abuse on health care costs is consistent with what we find with people who quit smoking or abusing alcohol or drugs the costs don't go back to normal for years," she said.

The study involved 2,026 women patients at Group Health Cooperative, a health system in the Pacific Northwest. All women in the study consented to giving researchers confidential access to their medical records.

Women in the study were surveyed by telephone about whether they experienced any physical, sexual or psychological abuse from intimate partners, including husbands and boyfriends, since they were 18 years old. Women who indicated any abuse were asked which year each abuse type started and stopped.

In all, 859 women reported some type
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Contact: Amy Bonomi
Bonomi.1@osu.edu
614-292-4753
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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