Health Questions and Answers

Question: What clues to Intimate partner violence (IPV) might be evident in a patient’s history?

Answer:

Most importantly, a history that is inconsistent with the physical examination findings should raise physician suspicion for IPV. Consider partner abuse in patients with threatened miscarriages (because of abdominal trauma), patients with suicidal intentions or attempts (frequently occur after a “fight” with a partner), patients who are depressed, patients who have evidence of drug and alcohol abuse, patients with frequent visits for chronic pain complaints, and patients who report no prenatal care (their partners may prevent them from accessing care).

Reference: Koziol-McLain J, Coates CJ, Lowenstein SR: Predictive validity of a screen for partner violence against women. Am J Prev Med 21:93-100, 2001.

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