An examination of intimate partner violence and psychological stressors in adult abortion patients

Gretchen E. Ely, Melanie D. Otis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to describe an exploratory study examining the relationship between intimate partner violence and psychological stressors in a sample of 188 adult abortion patients. Results indicate the almost 15% of respondents report a history of abuse by the coconceiving partner. In addition, women who reported having had one or more past abortions were more likely to also report that the person involved in the current pregnancy had also emotionally abused them. Women reporting one type of partner abuse were significantly more likely to also report other types of abuse. Women reporting abuse were less likely to report informing their coconceiving partner of their appointment at the clinic, less likely to report that their partner contributed financially to the abortion cost, and more likely to report partner refusal to wear a condom. Women who reported emotional abuse were more likely to score higher on all but one of the psychological stressor scales. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3248-3266
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume26
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded via an internal grant from the University of Kentucky Center for Research on Violence Against Women.

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the University of Kentucky Center for the Research on Violence Against Women. Approval for the project was given by the institutional review board (IRB) at the researchers’ home institution. Study data were collected through self-report surveys administered to women seeking abortion services at a clinic in an urban Southeastern city. Between January 2006 and April 2006, clinic personnel offered each patient 18 and above an opportunity to participate in the study. Participants consisted of a convenience sample of 188 women (18-46 years of age) who sought termination services from the clinic. To protect the anonymity of the participants, written consent was not obtained. Thus, the return of a completed questionnaire was interpreted as consent to participation. Approximately 84% of eligible patients participated in the study. In a cover letter accompanying the instrument, women were provided with informed consent information which explained that their participation was strictly voluntary and in no way tied to their clinic services, their identity would be unknown to the researchers, and their responses would be unknown to the clinic staff. Women had the option of declining the research packet, accepting the packet and choosing not to complete the survey, or accepting the packet and completing some or all of the survey. Regardless of their decision about whether to complete the survey, women were asked to seal the survey in an envelope provided in their research packet and place it in a locked box located in a discrete area of the clinic. Each woman who accepted a packet for examination also received a US$5 gift card for a local retailer. The gift card was hers to keep regardless of her participation in the study. In all, 188 patients participated in the study.

Keywords

  • abortion patients
  • multiple abortions
  • partner violence
  • psychological stressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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