Intimate partner violence: analysis of current screening practices in the primary care setting

Hanna R. Perone, Noella Dietz, Julia Belkowitz, Sarah Bland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a largely undetected occurrence in the United States reported by 36-50% of women in their lifetime and associated with extensive physical and psychological implications. Currently, conflicting recommendations exist regarding screening practices with the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) advocating for and against universal screening, respectively. With research suggesting that women are seldom asked about IPV during clinic visits, further information is needed regarding current screening practices. OBJECTIVES: To identify current IPV screening approaches in the primary care setting and factors that may impact screening completion. METHODS: We retrospectively examined patients presenting for annual examinations at four university-associated primary care clinics in southeast Florida (n = 400). Patient demographics, screener demographics, screening completion, and screening results were collected from the medical record. Results were compared to depression and anxiety screenings due to comparable prevalence and screening recommendations. Pearson chi square and Fisher exact tests were utilized to compare screening rates by demographic characteristics. RESULTS: IPV screening occurred at a much lower frequency (8.5%) compared to screenings for anxiety (37.3%) and depression (71.3%). Among documented IPV screenings, 64.7% of encounters resulted in patient refusal to be screened. Screening rates were found to be marginally impacted by patient ethnicity (P = 0.052). CONCLUSIONS: Findings of both low screening rates and low screening success raise significant concerns for the shortcomings of advocating for universal IPV screening. Therefore, additional studies are necessary to identify covert barriers to screening completion before universal inquiry is advised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 19 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Dating violence
  • domestic violence
  • healthcare surveys
  • intimate partner violence
  • primary health care
  • spouse violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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