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Teen girls report abusive boyfriends try to get them pregnant
Date:9/20/2007

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Seven years ago, Elizabeth Miller was a volunteer physician in a community-based clinic in Boston, Mass., which offered confidential services to teens. She is still haunted by the memory of a 15-year old girl who asked her for a pregnancy test. It was negative, but two weeks later the girl was treated for a severe head injury in a nearby emergency room. The girls boyfriend had pushed her down a flight of stairs.

I assumed all she needed was to be educated about her contraceptive options, Miller recalled. Later, I wondered what I had missed. Could I have asked a question that would have identified that she was in an abusive relationship"

That nagging question inspired Miller, now a pediatrician with UC Davis Childrens Hospital, to dedicate her career to trying to understand the unique characteristics of adolescent partner violence.

In a new qualitative clinical study published in the September-October issue of the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics, Miller and her research colleagues report that a quarter of the teenage girls interviewed for the study all of whom had histories of abusive relationships say their partners were actively trying to get them pregnant. The study, available online today, is the first in the general adolescent health literature to document the role of abusive partners in promoting teen pregnancy.

Physicians are trained to think about domestic violence in adult terms, said Miller, a physician trained in both adult and pediatric medicine who specializes in treating adolescents. Our study suggests that health-care providers who come in contact with teens, especially those seeking pregnancy testing and emergency contraception, should ask about the possibility of abuse in the relationship and specifically whether the young womans partner may be trying to get her pregnant.

Millers study is based on interviews with 61 girls from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds with
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Contact: Elizabeth Miller
elizabeth.miller@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis - Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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