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Prevalence of Domestic Violence and Associated Factors among Women on a Trauma Service

Melnick, David M. MD, MPH; Maio, Ronald F. DO, MS; Blow, Frederic C. PhD; Hill, Elizabeth M. PhD; Wang, Stewart C. MD, PhD; Pomerantz, Richard MD; Kane, Mollie L. MD, MPH; Graham-Bermann, Sandra PhD; Weber, James DO; Farber, Mitchell S. MD

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: July 2002 - Volume 53 - Issue 1 - p 33-37
Original Articles

Background  Despite the increasing recognition of the problem of domestic violence (DV), it has not been studied in surgical populations.

Methods  Eligible patients underwent screening for a recent history of DV and alcohol abuse (AA). Other demographic, health, and injury-related data were also collected.

Results  Of 127 subjects entered into the study, 18% screened positive for DV and 21% screened positive for AA. Of those screening positive for DV, 65% screened positive for AA compared with 12% of those screening negative for DV (p < 0.001.) Screening for DV was recommended by a vast majority of subjects, with only 6% of subjects responding that it was not appropriate.

Conclusion  Both DV and AA have a high prevalence among female trauma patients admitted to trauma centers. Nearly all subjects recommended screening for DV. Screening for DV should be incorporated into the routine care of female trauma patients.

From the Departments of Surgery (D.M.M., S.C.W.), Emergency Medicine (R.F.M.), Psychiatry (F.C.B.), Family Medicine (M.L.K.), and Psychology (S.G.-B.), University of Michigan Medical Center, and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (R.P.), Ann Arbor, Department of Psychology (E.M.H.), University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, and Hurley Medical Center (J.W., M.S.F.), Flint, Michigan.

Submitted for publication October 2, 2001.

Accepted for publication January 11, 2002.

Supported by grants from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital RAC, University of Michigan Departments of Surgery RAC and Emergency Medicine, Alcohol Research Center, Injury Research Center, Office of the Vice President for Research, and the American Medical Association Foundation and National Institutes of Health grant T32 AA07477.

Address for reprints: Ronald F. Maio, DO, MS, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, TC-B1380/0305, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; email:

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.