Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Care Costs

Intimate Partner Abuse and Health Care Costs

I am always reading about the latest information on domestic violence and came across an article that I would like to share with you. I will paraphrase it, but it is from the Masters Advocate:

Victims of domestic violence endure significantly higher health care costs than other women for three years after the abuse ends, according to a new study. The study is the first to look at how health care costs of abused women change from year to year after the abuse ends. This study looked at costs during the years of abuse and then during each year up to ten years later. The results suggest that domestic abuse acts on health care costs much like chronic health conditions, said Amy Bonomi, the co-author of the study. “Women may continue to experience physical and emotional consequences even years after their abuse ends, and that is reflected in their health care costs.” The study involved 2,026women patients at Group Health Cooperative, a health system in the Pacific Northwest. Women in the study were surveyed by telephone about whether they experienced any physical, sexual or psychological abuse from intimate partners, including husbands and boyfriends, since they were eighteen years old.

In all, 859 women reported some type of abuse in their adult lifetimes and 1,167 reported no abuse. ….the study considered a wide variety of factors including age, race, ethnicity, education and income, marital status, among others.Overall the women’s healthcare costs were $585 greater per year than non-abused women during the period of abuse. After the abuse ended, health care costs were $1,231 higher in the first year, $1,204 higher in the second year, and $444 higher the third year. By the fourth year after abuse, health care costs were similar to that of other women.

For more information, see The article can be found in the September, 2010 Journal of General Internal Medicine (vol. 25,9).