186707 Safety behavior patterns and abuse experience of low income, urban women

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 9:00 AM

Andrea C. Gielen, ScD, ScM , Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Samantha L. Illangasekare, MPH , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Patricia Mahoney, MA , Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Karen A. McDonnell, PhD , Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University SPHHS, Washington, DC
Jessica Burke, PhD, MHS , Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
Patricia O'Campo, PhD , Centre for Research on Inner City Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Background/Purpose: The public health significance of intimate partner violence (IPV) is clear. As many as 3-4 million women in the U.S. are estimated to be affected by IPV. Low-income women experiencing abuse are of particular concern because they have fewer economic resources and may therefore be less able to leave an abusive situation. Little is known about the extent to which professionally recommended safety behaviors are actually utilized by these women. This descriptive study addresses this gap in the literature.

Methods: A total of 96 physically abused women recruited from health care settings in Baltimore were interviewed about their current IPV experiences and their use (ever and currently) of 35 specific safety behaviors, including avoiding the partner, fighting back, copying important documents, making a safety plan, talking to friends or family, contacting professionals, police and shelters.

Results: Most commonly used safety behaviors include hiding money (71%), talking to friends (71%), several different avoidance behaviors (>78%), and making a personal safety plan (71%). Less commonly used were calling a shelter(35%) and calling the police(43%). Analyses to be completed and presented include latent class analysis to identify patterns of safety behaviors and multiple regression to describe the relationship between these patterns, other characteristics of women and their partners and women's current experiences of abuse.

Conclusions: Findings will shed new light on the extent to which recommended safety behaviors are being used and their potential to reduce women's risk of violence. Implications for women's health care providers and patient educators will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the public health burden of intimate partner violence 2. Describe patterns of personal safety behaviors used by women experiencing IPV 3. Critically discuss the strengths and weaknesses of recommending specific safety behaviors for women experiencing IPV

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on the study being presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.