1. Jonsdottir, Sigridur Sia MS, CNM, RN

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Certain, H. J., Mueller, M., Jagodzinski, T., & Fleming, M. (2008).Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 37, 35-41.


This study done in Wisconsin again shows us that clinicians need to screen every pregnant and postpartum women for domestic abuse (DA). This study was done at 35 different clinics, and had a large sample of 1,500 postpartum women. The researchers found that 7.4% of these women (n = 112) had been victims of emotional or physical abuse (one out of every 14 women). The women were 45 days postpartum on average when they were asked to answer a survey while waiting for their scheduled postpartum appointment. The EPDS (Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale) was used for data collection, along with a survey on alcohol use. Additional questions regarding DA were adapted from the Abuse Assessment Screen, which has been used since 1992. The results of the study indicated that women who are victims of DA were more likely to be unmarried (odds ratio (OR 7.05), more likely to screen positive for postpartum depression (OR 4.21) and had a partner who was a binge drinker (four or more drinks at a time) (OR 3.09). Other results that were statistically associated with DA were Hispanic ethnicity, being over 35 years of age, and not being in the labor force. In this sample, however, the participants were mostly Caucasian (90.8%), married (81.7%), and employed outside the home (73.3%). Based on this research, nurses and midwives taking care of postpartum mothers do need to keep in mind the possibility that a woman who scores positive on the EPDS depression scale could very well be a victim of DA; the chances are even higher if she is unmarried. The sad fact that DA is so common in society makes it imperative for all of us to screen our patients for domestic abuse all the time.

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