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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2006 Jan;30(1):31-8.

Exposure to violence among substance-dependent pregnant women and their children.

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. mvelez@jhmi.edu

Abstract

This study examined the prevalence of exposure to violence among drug-dependent pregnant women attending a multidisciplinary perinatal substance abuse treatment program. Participants (N = 715) completed the Violence Exposure Questionnaire within 7 days after their admission to the program. Their rates of lifetime abuse ranged from 72.7% for physical abuse to 71.3% for emotional abuse to 44.5% for sexual abuse. Their rates of abuse remained high during their current pregnancy, ranging from 40.9% for emotional abuse to 20.0% for physical abuse to 7.1% for sexual abuse. Nearly one third of the women reported having physical fights with their current partner (lifetime), and 25% of these women reported that children were present during those physical fights. A total of 30% of the women perceived a need for counseling regarding exposure to violence for themselves and 15% perceived a need for counseling for their children. Study findings confirm previous reports of high rates of abuse and violence exposure among substance-abusing pregnant women and their strong need for counseling for psychosocial sequelae. This study affirmed the value of routine screening for violence exposure in this at-risk population as well as the need to train therapists in specific strategies for helping such women address this complex array of problems.

PMID:
16377450
PMCID:
PMC2651191
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsat.2005.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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