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Am J Epidemiol. 1999 Oct 1;150(7):714-26.

Physical and nonphysical partner abuse and other risk factors for low birth weight among full term and preterm babies: a multiethnic case-control study.

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School of Nursing, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205-2110, USA.


This study sought to determine the risk of low birth weight from intimate partner abuse. The case-control design was used in a purposively ethnically stratified multisite sample of 1,004 women interviewed during the 72 hours after delivery between 1991 and 1996. Abuse was determined by the Index of Spouse Abuse and a modification of the Abuse Assessment Screen. Separate analyses were conducted for 252 full term and 326 preterm infants. The final multiple logistic regression models were constructed to determine relative risk for low birth weight after controlling for other complications of pregnancy. Physical and nonphysical abuse as determined by the Index of Spouse Abuse were both significant risk factors for low birth weight for the full term infants but not the preterm infants on a bivariate level. However, the risk estimates decreased in significance in the adjusted models. Although today's short delivery stays make it difficult to assess for abuse, it is necessary to screen for domestic violence at delivery, especially for women who may not have obtained prenatal care. The unadjusted significant risk for low birth weight that became nonsignificant when adjusted suggests that other abuse-related maternal health problems (notably low weight gain and poor obstetric history) are confounders (or mediators) that help to explain the relation between abuse and low birth weight in full term infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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