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Womens Health Issues. 2006 Sep-Oct;16(5):252-61.

Long-term costs of intimate partner violence in a sample of female HMO enrollees.

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Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.



To compare costs associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) overall and for selected physical health problems in a non-poor, privately insured sample.


We compared 185 women aged 21-55 who were physically and/or sexually abused between 1989 and 1997 and enrolled in a multisite metropolitan health maintenance organization (HMO) to 198 never abused women enrolled in the same plan who had been matched using propensity score stratification. Costs associated with HMO visits, hospital stays, referrals, and emergency room (ER) visits, prescriptions, and radiology are based on the Medicare Resource-Based Relative Value System, expressed in 2005 dollars.


Average health care costs for women who reported physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse exceeded those of never abused women by $1,700 over the 3-year study period. Women who reported abuse within 12 months of interview had higher average costs, as did women who reported physical abuse; however, sexual or emotional abuse and previous abuse also elevated costs. Costs associated with neurologic symptoms, injuries, mental health care, and unclassified symptoms account for most of these differences.


IPV elevates health care costs, not only among women currently experiencing abuse, but also among women for whom the abuse has ceased. Efforts to control health care costs should focus on early detection and prevention of IPV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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