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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Nov;181(5 Pt 1):1049-51.

Domestic abuse in pregnancy: A comparison of a self-completed domestic abuse questionnaire with a directed interview.

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  • 1Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/St Peter's University Hospital, New Brunswick 07753, USA.



The purpose of this study was to compare the results of a standardized self-completed domestic abuse questionnaire with those of a directed interview in the identification of domestic abuse in pregnant patients.


All patients with a first prenatal visit between March 1 and September 30, 1997, were assessed for self-reported domestic abuse with a standardized domestic abuse questionnaire. This was followed by a directed interview that involved verbal review of the standardized domestic abuse questionnaire. Self-reported domestic abuse was defined as any positive response to the domestic abuse questionnaire or the directed interview. The number of patients with a positive response to either the standardized questionnaire or the directed interview, or both, were recorded. The 2 techniques were compared by the McNemar chi(2) test. The group demographics and characteristics were evaluated.


Among the 224 patients evaluated, a total of 36% (n = 80) of the patients reported domestic abuse by either method. The standardized domestic abuse questionnaire identified 85% (n = 68) compared with 59% (n = 47) by a directed interview (P =.03). The use of the standardized domestic abuse questionnaire and the directed interview in parallel identified an additional 15% (n = 12) of patients with domestic abuse.


A standardized domestic abuse questionnaire is superior to a directed interview in identifying self-reported domestic abuse in pregnancy. Utilizing both methods in parallel further increases the number of patients identified.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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