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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2003 Winter;23(1):54-63.

Spouse/partner violence education as a predictor of screening practices among physicians.

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Child Transportation Safety Program, Center for Injury and Violence Prevention, Virginia Department of Health, 1500 East Main Street, Room 105, Richmond, VA 23219, USA.



Spouse/partner violence is a major public health problem that affects 3 to 6 million women per year. Many studies show that the majority of health care practitioners do not detect or respond to cases of spouse/partner violence in their practice. Research suggests that there are potential barriers to reporting or detecting this problem. A barrier often cited is lack of proper education or training regarding spouse/partner violence. The objective of this study was to determine if physicians who received spouse/partner violence education at various stages of their careers were more likely to screen patients for spouse/partner violence.


A survey was developed and administered to family physicians and obstetricians/gynecologists in Virginia. The data were analyzed to determine screening practice and spouse/partner violence education among respondents. Four different educational opportunities were analyzed to determine potential determinants of screening.


All respondents who had spouse/partner violence education were more likely to screen every patient than those who were lacking this education. Receiving lectures during residency training was found to be a significant predictor of screening every patient for spouse/partner violence among respondents.


Screening every patient for exposure to spouse/partner violence is the ideal situation. This study indicates that education about spouse/partner violence has a significant impact on screening tendencies if provided during a physician's residency program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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