Author(s): Quinlivan JA, Evans SF
Abstract Share this page
Abstract INTRODUCTION: The incidence of domestic violence among pregnant Australian teenagers is higher than rates reported for the general community. However, there are limited data that address the impact of this abuse upon pregnancy outcome. We have examined the significant antenatal associations of domestic violence in young teenage pregnancy, and the impact of this abuse upon pregnancy outcome. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: A multicenter prospective cohort study was performed between January 1, 1997 and June 30, 1999. Patients were interviewed and completed questionnaires in the antenatal period to establish whether they were victims of domestic violence. Labor and delivery details were independently collated after discharge for mother and infant. Data were analyzed using an analysis of variance, with a P-value of 0.05 considered significant. RESULTS: Of 537 patients enrolled in the study, 157 (29.2\%) were victims of domestic violence; 380 (70.8\%) were not and acted as pregnant teenage controls. Key findings were that teenage victims of domestic violence (VDV) were more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs than controls (P < 0.0001). VDV had a higher incidence of infectious morbidity and Pap smear abnormalities (P < 0.007) and psychosocial pathology (P < 0.0001) than controls. A higher incidence of puerperal and neonatal morbidity was observed in VDV and their newborns compared to controls (P < 0.007). The estimated cost of hospital care for teenage VDV was double that of the Australian average. CONCLUSION: We need to identify all teenage mothers exposed to domestic violence and provide them with expert intervention services. Early intervention programs are likely to be cost effective.
This article was published in J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol
and referenced in Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence