Most Doctors Don't Ask About Domestic Violence

But physicians are helpful if they do screen patients, survey finds

TUESDAY, July 16, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) survey has found conflicting evidence concerning physicians' efforts to stop domestic violence.

The study, to be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found a relatively low percentage -- 19 percent -- of doctors asked their patients if they were victims of domestic violence, but those who did intervene acted at least as vociferously as they did for alcohol and tobacco problems and for sexually transmitted diseases.

The doctors who were surveyed said they were much more likely, though, to screen patients for those problems than for domestic abuse.

Previous research has found that about 10 percent of adult women are abused by their intimate partners each year. In addition to injuries caused by the violence, the abuse has been linked to depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

The survey was mailed to 1,200 doctors nationwide, and included 32 questions.

More information

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has information about the problem.

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