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J Dent Hyg. 2018 Jun;92(3):47-55.

Dental Hygienists' Readiness to Screen for Intimate Partner Violence in the State of Texas.


Purpose: Limited data document dental hygienists' preparedness for intimate partner violence (IPV) screening and response. The aim of this study was to assess dental hygienists' readiness to screen for IPV and provide baseline information for the realization of action toward addressing IPV.Methods: The Domestic Violence Healthcare Provider Survey (DVHPS) instrument was distributed online to all members of the Texas Dental Hygienists' Association (n=1100). Four hundred fifteen emails were opened and 114 (n=114) surveys were returned for 28% response rate. This validated survey measures six scales: perceived self-efficacy, fear of offending patients, victim personality/traits, professional role resistance, perceptions of victim disobedience causing IPV, and psychiatric support. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate mean scores for each scale. Specific criteria were applied to interpret the level of readiness based on the scale scores.Results: A little more than one quarter of the respondents (28%) reported having had course content related to IPV as students in their dental hygiene program curriculum, while 27% reported completing continuing education on IPV. A significant proportion of participants, 40%, were uncertain if routine IPV screening was within their professional role. They did not perceive self-efficacy in their screening capabilities (m=3.08 with 5.0 as the strongest), however they reported possessing a strong knowledge regarding IPV victims' personality/traits and did not blame the victims (m=1.92 and 1.48 respectively with 1.0 as the strongest).Conclusion: Results confirm earlier studies indicating the need for IPV training for oral health care professionals. Specifically, there is an evident need for training to increase dental hygienists' self-efficacy regarding IPV screening. Dental hygienists play a critical role in IPV screening and should be prepared to face the challenges presented by IPV and be available to meet the needs of IPV victims through referral to the appropriate support services.


IPV screening; dental hygienist; domestic violence; intimate partner violence; spouse abuse


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