SEVERITY OF ABUSE BEFORE AND DURING PREGNANCY FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANIC, AND ANGLO WOMEN

Authors

  • Judith McFarlane DrPH, RN, FAAN,

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    • 1Judith McFarlane is the Parry Chair in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Texas Woman's University, College of Nursing in Houston, Texas. Dr. McFarlane began doing research on abuse during pregnancy in the early 1980s and has since authored seminal research on the effect of abuse on maternal and infant health.

  • Barbara Parker PhD, RN, FAAN,

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    • 2Barbara Parker is a professor at the University of Virginia, School of Nursing and Director of Research and Director of the Doctoral Program. Dr. Parker began doing research with Dr. McFarlane in the 1980s and together they have developed and tested assessment and intervention models for the care of abused pregnant women.

  • Karen Soeken PhD,

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    • 3Karen Soeken is a statistician and associate professor at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing, and has authored many publications on abuse during pregnancy.

  • Concepcion Silva PhD, RN,

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    • 4Concepcion Silva is an associate professor in the School of Nursing, University of Texas at Galveston. Dr. Silva completes research in therapeutic touch and the experience of abuse to Hispanic women.

  • Sally Reed PhD, RN

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    • 5Sally Reel is a nurse practitioner in rural West Virginia and Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, School of Nursing.


6Address correspondence to Judith McFarlane, Texas Woman's University, 1130 M. D. Anderson Blvd., Houston, TX 77030.

ABSTRACT

Objective: To describe timing and severity of abuse before and during pregnancy for African American, Hispanic, and white Anglo American women.

Findings: Among 199 abused women, 18.1% of the women were abused during pregnancy but not the year before, 30.2% were abused the year before but not during pregnancy, and 51.8% were abused both the year before and during pregnancy. The timing of abuse did not vary by ethnicity. The three (ethnicity) by three (timing) factorial analysis of variance showed severity of abuse to vary by timing of abuse. Women reporting abuse both before and during pregnancy reported greater severity of abuse on each of the five measures than did women abused only before pregnancy or only during pregnancy.

Conclusions: Over half (51.8%) of the women reported abuse before and during pregnancy with these women reporting greater severity of abuse on all five severity scores. Timing and severity of abuse did not vary by ethnic group. The majority of women abused during pregnancy were also abused prior to pregnancy, indicating the need for universal screening of all women during each health encounter. © 1999 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

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