Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 579–584 | Cite as

Screening for Domestic Violence Among Adult Women in the United States

  • Ruth Klap
  • Lingqi Tang
  • Kenneth Wells
  • Sarah L. Starks
  • Michael Rodriguez
Original Article



Domestic violence is a problem frequently encountered in health care settings and a risk factor for physical and mental health problems.


To provide nationally representative estimates of rates of domestic violence screening among women, to identify predictors of screening, and to describe settings where women are screened.

Design and Participants

We examined 4,821 women over the age of 18 from the second wave of Healthcare for Communities, a nationally representative household telephone survey conducted in 2000–2001.


Self-reports concerning whether the respondent was ever asked about domestic or family violence by any health care provider.


Only 7% (95% CI, 6%–8%) of women reported they were ever asked about domestic violence or family violence by a health care professional. Of women who were asked about abuse, nearly half (46%) were asked in a primary care setting, and 24% were asked in a specialty mental health setting. Women with risk factors for domestic violence were more likely to report being asked about it by a health care professional, but rates were still low.


Self-reported rates of screening for domestic violence are low even among women at higher risk for abuse. These findings reinforce the importance of developing training and raising awareness of domestic violence and its health implications. This is especially true in primary care and mental health specialty settings.


domestic violence intimate partner violence screening 



This study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grant 038273) and the National Institute of Mental Health (grant P30 MH068639). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation approved the design and conduct of the study. We thank Lily Zhang, MS, for data analysis. Preliminary results were presented at the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting in Boston in June 2005. Any opinions expressed in this study are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of any affiliated institutions.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest:

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Klap
    • 1
  • Lingqi Tang
    • 1
  • Kenneth Wells
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Sarah L. Starks
    • 1
  • Michael Rodriguez
    • 3
  1. 1.Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineDavid Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral SciencesDavid Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health ServicesUCLA School of Public Health, University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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