Detecting Potential Intimate Partner Violence: Which Approach Do Women Want?

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Introduction: Screening for or detection of intimate partner violence (IPV) in women is recommended, but no published studies compare respondent preferences for how screening should occur. This study sought to determine women's preferences for IPV detection. Methods: Using a video stimulus method, 97 women viewed a short videotape portraying an encounter between a female physician and an established female patient. Participants evaluated three methods the physician used to detect IPV: the Partner Violence Screen (PVS), items from the Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST), and a patient-centered (PC) approach. Women also identified responses to avoid and suggested what the physician should say to explore IPV. Results: Thirty-eight of 97 participants (39%) reported having experienced IPV. The most preferred screening method was the PC approach, followed closely by questions from the WAST. The PVS was the least preferred method of IPV detection compared to the others, and more than half of the participants recommended avoiding it, regardless of their IPV status. Two thirds of the participants' written suggestions of their preferred approach to exploring IPV were for the PC approach. Preferences were not associated with demographics. Discussion: Of the IPV assessment types tested, primary care patients most preferred the PC approach, followed by the questions from the WAST. The PVS questions should be avoided. Preferences for certain approaches were not affected by any demographic variable, nor a history of IPV.