SEATTLEChildren whose mothers have a history of abuse by intimate partners have higher health care needs than children whose mothers have no history of abuse, according to a study conducted at Group Health, a Seattle-based health plan.
These needsexpressed in terms of the cost of providing care and use of health serviceswere higher even if the abuse occurred before the children were born, the research team found. Scientists from Group Health Center for Health Studies, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC), and Seattle Childrens Hospital Research Institute conducted the study, which appeared in the December 2007 issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Children are the other victims when intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs in the home, said lead author Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH. This study shows that children require more health care--especially for mental health--when their mothers are victims of such violence.
Rivara is a researcher with HIPRC and Childrens. The principal investigator for the study is Robert S. Thompson, MD, senior investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies.
The study compared medical records and utilization data from 631 children of mothers with a history of IPV with those of 760 children whose mothers had not experienced IPV. The motherswho participated in a randomly sampled telephone survey of Group Health female members aged 18 to 64provided the information regarding their lifetime history with IPV. The study defines IPV as both physical abuse (slapping, hitting, forced sex) and nonphysical abuse (threats, and chronic disparaging remarks or controlling behavior.) The researchers looked at 11 years of data.
Among the mothers in the study, 46.6 percent reported experiencing IPV since age 18. Among the children of mothers with IPV, the violence stopped before they were born for 21.8 percent. For 23.6 percent, the violence happened during the childrens lifetime. <
|Contact: Joan DeClaire|
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies