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abuse, intimate-partner violence, safety intervention, clinical trial, women's health



  1. McFarlane, Judith DrPH, RN, FAAN
  2. Malecha, Ann PhD, RN
  3. Gist, Julia PhD, RN
  4. Watson, Kathy MS
  5. Batten, Elizabeth BA
  6. Hall, Iva PhD, RN
  7. Smith, Sheila PhD, RN, C


OVERVIEW: Despite an epidemic of intimate-partner violence against women, and general agreement that women should be screened for it, few assessment and intervention protocols have been evaluated in controlled studies. To test a telephone intervention intended to increase the "safety-promoting behavior" of abused women, 75 women received six telephone calls over a period of eight weeks in which safety-promoting behaviors were discussed. A control group of 75 women received usual care. Women in both groups received follow-up calls to assess safety-promoting behaviors at three, six, 12, and 18 months after intake. Analysis showed that the women in the intervention group practiced significantly (P < 0.01) more safety-promoting behaviors than women in the control group at each assessment. On average, women in the intervention group practiced almost two more safety-promoting behaviors than they had at time of intake and nearly two more than women in the control group; the additional behaviors were practiced for 18 months. This nursing intervention requires only 54 minutes to complete (six nine-minute telephone calls) and can be integrated into any health care setting. Because less than one hour of professional nursing time is involved, the cost of the intervention is minimal. Future research should determine whether the adoption of safety-promoting behaviors by abused women averts trauma and its subsequent health care costs.