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Am J Public Health. 1991 Nov;81(11):1486-9.

A 5-year follow-up study of 117 battered women.

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Department of Psychiatry, Huddinge Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.


This paper reports register data concerning somatic and psychiatric hospital care on 117 battered women who were identified in a surgical emergency department and offered a treatment program. Data were collected during a period of 10 years before to 5 years after the battering in question. It was concluded that the battered woman seeks hospital care much more than the average woman of the same age. It is, however, not only traumatic injuries that bring her to the hospital, but also medical, gynecological, psychiatric, and unspecified disorders and suicide attempts. In this study it was hypothesized that this overuse of hospital care reflects the situation at home characterized by ongoing battering and other psychosocial problems. During the 5 years following the battering, the women did not show any signs of reducing their use of hospital care. It is alarming that this high use of medical care continues over years, and doctors should consider battering as one possible explanation for this phenomenon.

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