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Academic Medicine:
Papers: Social Medicine

Identification of Physician and Patient Attributes That Influence the Likelihood of Screening for Intimate Partner Violence

Jonassen, Julie A.; Mazor, Kathleen M.

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Abstract

Purpose. Effective assessment of intimate partner violence (IPV) demands that everyone at risk be screened. To identify potential barriers, paper-and-pencil case scenarios identified possible practitioner and patient attributes that influence IPV screening.

Method. First-year residents responded to one of four short written scenarios describing a divorced female patient with nonlocalized abdominal pain; variables were patient’s age and abdominal bruising. Residents rated their likelihood of screening for IPV and seven other screening tasks and self-assessed their competence in performing each task. Regression analyses assessed the influence of resident and patient characteristics on screening likelihood.

Results. Patient bruising, younger patient age, and resident self-assessed competence best predicted IPV screening. Men were less likely than women to screen for IPV.

Conclusions. Although most physicians receive training on IPV in medical school, barriers to IPV screening still exist. Identifying obstacles to IPV risk-assessment is an essential prerequisite for improving educational programs that promote routine IPV screening.

© 2003 Association of American Medical Colleges

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