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Prevalence of Partner Violence Against 7,443 African American, White, and Hispanic Women Receiving Care at Urban Public Primary Care Clinics


  • Judith M. McFarlane, Dr. P.H., Texas Woman's University, College of Nursing, Houston, Texas. Janet Y. Groff, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Houston, Texas. Jennifer A. O'Brien, M.A., University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Houston, Texas. Kathy Watson, M.S., is Consulting Statistician.

* Judith M. McFarlane, Parry Chair in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Texas Woman's University, 1130 John Freeman Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:


Abstract  Given inconclusive findings regarding racial/ethnic differences in risk for intimate partner violence (IPV), this study will estimate annual prevalence and severity of IPV and associated risk factors of homicide among a multiethnic population of English- and Spanish-speaking African American, White, and Hispanic women receiving public primary health care. A personal interview survey was conducted using three measurement instruments including a brief two-question screen. The sample consisted of 7,443 women, aged 18–44 years, receiving care at urban, primary health care clinics in southern Texas. White women disclosed abuse at a rate of 8.9%, followed by African American women at 6.0% and Hispanic women at 5.3%. More abuse was reported by White and African American women compared to Hispanic women. Use of a brief two-question screen provides racial/ethnic specific surveillance data for patient care programming and can track progress toward decreasing violence against women.