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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 6, pp 460–464 | Cite as

Patterns of Medication Use Among Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

  • Judith WuestEmail author
  • Marilyn Merritt-Gray
  • Barbara Lent
  • Colleen Varcoe
  • Alison J. Connors
  • Marilyn Ford-Gilboe
Article
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Abstract

Objective

Our objective was to describe patterns of medication use in a convenience sample of 309 women with a history of intimate partner violence (IPV) participating in a study of women’s health after leaving an abusive partner (WHES).

Methods

Using data collected through interviews and health assessments, frequencies of past-month use of medications; abuse experienced, health problems and medical diagnoses; and selected demographics were calculated. Associations among abuse history, employment status, health problems, diagnoses, and medications were explored. Comparisons of rates of medication use in women in the WHES and the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) 2.1 were calculated.

Findings

Almost half of participants were taking pain and/or psychotropic medications, with almost one third taking antidepressants. Child abuse history, adult sexual assault history and unemployment were associated with taking psychotropic medications. Overall rates of medication use were similar to those of Canadian women of similar age in the CCHS 2.1. However, women in the WHES were more likely to be taking antidepressants, anxiolytics and inhalants, and less likely to be taking oral contraceptives, over-the counter (OTC) pain relievers, and OTC cough and cold medications.

Conclusion

The pattern of medication use in women who have experienced IPV differs from that in the general population. The complex associations found among health problems, employment, diagnoses, and medication use highlight the need to consider treatment patterns within the context of the impact of lifetime abuse, economic survival, and parenting demands. Medication use must be understood as only one of a range of health interventions available to assist abused women to promote their health.

MeSH terms

Domestic violence spousal violence prescription drugs non-prescription drugs therapeutics 

Résumé

Objectif

Décrire les habitudes de consommation de médicaments au sein d’un échantillon de commodité de 309 femmes victimes de violence entre partenaires intimes (VPI) ayant participé à une enquête sur la santé des femmes (WHES) après avoir quitté un partenaire violent.

Méthode

À la faveur d’entretiens et d’évaluations de l’état de santé, nous avons déterminé la fréquence de consommation de médicaments au cours du mois antérieur, la violence subie, les problèmes de santé et les diagnostics médicaux, et établi certaines données démographiques. Les liens entre les antécédents de mauvais traitements, l’emploi, les problèmes de santé, les diagnostics et les médicaments ont été analysés. Nous avons ensuite comparé les taux de consommation de médicaments par les femmes de l’enquête WHES et de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes (ESCC), cycle 2.1.

Résultats

Près de la moitié des participantes prenaient des analgésiques et/ou des médicaments psychotropes, et près du tiers prenaient des antidépressifs. Les antécédents de mauvais traitements durant l’enfance, d’agression sexuelle à l’âge adulte et de chômage étaient associés à la consommation de médicaments psychotropes. Dans l’ensemble, les taux de consommation de médicaments étaient semblables à ceux des Canadiennes du même âge recensées dans l’ESCC 2.1. Toutefois, les participantes de l’enquête WHES étaient plus susceptibles de prendre des antidépressifs, des anxiolytiques et des inhalants et moins susceptibles de prendre des contraceptifs oraux, des analgésiques en vente libre et des médicaments contre la toux et le rhume en vente libre.

Conclusion

Les femmes victimes de VPI n’ont pas les mêmes habitudes de consommation de médicaments que leurs concitoyennes. Les liens complexes que nous avons observés entre les problèmes de santé, l’emploi, les diagnostics et la consommation de médicaments montrent qu’il faut étudier les modes de traitement en fonction des répercussions de la violence subie au cours de la vie, de la survie économique et des exigences du rôle parental. Les médicaments ne sont qu’un des nombreux outils disponibles pour aider les femmes maltraitées à retrouver la santé.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Wuest
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marilyn Merritt-Gray
    • 2
  • Barbara Lent
    • 3
  • Colleen Varcoe
    • 4
  • Alison J. Connors
    • 2
  • Marilyn Ford-Gilboe
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of NursingUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of NursingUniversity of New BrunswickCanada
  3. 3.Schulich School of Medicine and DentistryThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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