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Nursings Focal Points – January Effect of Abuse by a Close Family

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					Nursing’s Focal Points – January



Effect of Abuse by a Close Family Member on Health
                           1                      1
Erla Kolbrun Svavarsdottir , Brynja Orlygsdottir
 1
   Erla Kolbrun Svavarsdottir, RN, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Nursing; Brynja Orlygsdottir, RN, Doctoral Candidate, Assistant
Professor, Faculty of Nursing; both at University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland. The authors gratefully acknowledge the editorial review
of the manuscript by Lynne Hall, RN, DrPH, College of Nursing, University of Kentucky. The study was funded by grants from the
Icelandic Ministry of Health, the University Research Fund at the University of Iceland, the Icelandic Nurses' Association Science Fund,
and the Landspitali University Hospital Research Fund. The study was also supported by Kaupthing Bank, the Icelandic Center for
Human Rights, and the Hekla company. Correspondence to Dr. Svavarsdottir, University of Iceland, Faculty of Nursing, Eirbergi,
Eiriksgata 34, IS-101 Reykjavik, ICELAND. E-mail: eks@hi.is


Purpose: To examine the effects of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse on physical and psychological health among Icelandic
women visiting an emergency department (ED) or high-risk prenatal care clinic (HRPCC). We hypothesized that the women's previous
experience of abuse by a close family member and current experiences of abuse by an intimate partner, would predict their physical
and psychological health.

Method: A cross-sectional study design was used. Data were collected using questionnaires (e.g., Women Abuse Screening Tool
(WAST) and semistructured interviews, from a sample of 208 women (101 visiting the ED and 107 visiting the HRPCC).

Results: For the women seen in the ED, their experience of previous sexual abuse by a close family member, emotional abuse within
the preceding year, and current abuse predicted the women's psychological health. For the women seen at the HRPCC, their previous
experience of physical abuse, sexual abuse by a close family member, and being currently in an abusive relationship significantly
predicted the women's psychological health.

Conclusions: Women in Iceland, who are survivors of abuse, seek healthcare services from EDs and high-risk prenatal clinics. The
complex effects of both former and current abuse on women's health indicates the importance of regular screening for abuse against
women.

Clinical Relevance: Offering appropriate interventions within emergency departments and high-risk prenatal clinics to women who are
victims of abuse is vital.

         Table 3. Stepwise Regression Model for Predicting Women's Perception of Own Psychological Health Symptoms


                                                                                        Main effects

                         Predictor variables                              B     Std Error β            t   p
                          Women visiting the ED (N=101)
                           Prior sexual abuse by a close family member    0.482 0.202        0.222 2.385 0.019
                           Emotionally abused within the last 12 months   0.651 0.260        0.300 2.507 0.014
                           Now in an abusive relationship (WAST)          0.090 0.028        0.349 3.177 0.002
                         Model R2=0.463
                         Adj R2=0.442
                         df=(78)
                         F=22.425***
                          Women visiting the HRPCC (n=104)
                           Prior physical abuse                           0.383 0.135        0.271 2.767 0.007
                           Prior sexual abuse by a close family member    0.345 0.163        0.196 2.116 0.037
                         Now in an abusive relationship (WAST)            0.120 0.038        0.306 3.190 0.002
                         Model R2=0.342
                         Adj R2=0.320
                         df=(88)
                         F=15.248***

				
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posted:3/15/2010
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