1. Beal, Judy A. DNSc, PNP, RN
  2. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN

Article Content

Bohn, D. K., Tebben, J. G., & Campbell, J. C. (2004). Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 33(5), 561-571.

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This is an important study because it deals with abuse in pregnancy, an essential topic for all of us to understand more fully. These researchers included a large sample (1004 women) from six different postpartum sites, thus increasing the value of the study's results. The researchers wanted to discover if certain demographic variables were associated with abuse in pregnancy. We know that abuse occurs across all socioeconomic groups, but most studies have focused on women in the most disadvantaged groups, who are most readily available for research in public clinics. Few studies have used samples of women that cross all sociodemographic groups. Different studies have attributed different prevalence rates for abuse in pregnancy; the prevalence has been variously reported as occurring between 1% to 20% of the time, clearly a large range. The women in this study were between 15 and 43 years old, represented many Hispanic ethnicities and also contained Caucasians and African Americans, and had monthly family incomes from <$5000 to >$2000. All the women were assessed during the postpartum hospital stay with the five-question Abuse Assessment Screen. The results showed that 15.9% of the entire sample reported ever having been abused by a partner; 5.2% reported abuse in the index pregnancy. Women who had graduated from high school had lower incidences of abuse; women with monthly incomes of <$5000 had high levels of abuse. Employed women had less abuse than their counterparts who were not employed. In terms of significant relationships, the one significant demographic predictor of current partner abuse and abuse in pregnancy was less than a high school education. This research can help nurses to better understand risk factors for abuse in pregnancy and shows that education makes a huge difference. Women who have less education are at higher risk for being abused. When working with pregnant women, nurses should assess their educational level and be certain to assess for abuse.


Comment by Margaret Comerford Freda