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Physical abuse raises women's health costs over 40 percent
Date:3/23/2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio Women experiencing physical abuse from intimate partners spent 42 percent more on health care per year than non-abused women, according to a long-term study of more than 3,000 women.

And the costs don't end when the abuse does. The study revealed that women who suffered physical abuse five or more years earlier still spent 19 percent more per year on health care than women who were never abused.

"Along with all the physical and emotional pain it causes, domestic violence also comes with a substantial financial price," said Amy Bonomi, co-author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

The study is the largest to date to examine health care costs and utilization based on the timing and type of domestic violence that women suffer, Bonomi said.

The study, co-authored with researchers from the Group Health Cooperative and the University of Washington in Seattle, was published online this week in the journal Health Services Research. It will appear in an upcoming print edition.

The research examined data from 3,333 randomly selected women who belonged to Group Health, a health care system in the Pacific Northwest.

Women in the study were surveyed about whether they experienced any physical or emotional abuse from intimate partners and if so, when it occurred. Researchers then studied patterns of health care use and costs by the women over an 11-year period, from 1992 through 2002.

"We were able to track health care costs for quite a long time, giving us a good picture of how much domestic violence is actually costing our health care system," Bonomi said.

Women experiencing ongoing physical abuse had the highest health care costs -- 42 percent higher than non-abused women.

"It's likely that these women need more health care because they are seeking care for immediate injuries and associated health prob
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Contact: Amy Bonomi
Bonomi.1@osu.edu
614-292-4753
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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