Thursday, July 12, 2007
This presentation is part of : Health Issues for Adult Women
Chronic Pain in Women Who Have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence
Marilyn Merritt-Gray, RN, MN1, Judith A. Wuest, RN, PhD1, Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, RN, PhD2, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, RN, PhD, FAAN3, and Barbara Lent, MA, MD, CCFP, FCFP4. (1) Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada, (2) School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada, (3) School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA, (4) Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
Learning Objective #1: appreciate the complex profile of chronic pain in a sample of women who have experienced intimate partner violence.
Learning Objective #2: understand the associations between chronic pain and abuse-related injury and hyperarousal related to past psychological trauma.

Chronic pain is a common, potentially disabling health problem associated with interference with daily activities, absenteeism, loss of work and high utilization of health and social services. Prevalence rates of chronic pain vary widely due to lack of consistency in definitions and measures. Rates of chronic pain among women based on national Canadian population health surveys approach 20% . Rates of chronic pain for women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), are reported to be 1.5 to 2 times higher. While chronic pain is well-recognized as an outcome of IPV, little is understood about the characteristics of women with IPV who experience more chronic pain or the relationships between chronic pain and other health problems in this population. Additionally, how the experience of chronic pain is linked to abuse-related injury and/or hyperarousal associated with past psychological trauma is unclear. We will present an overview of current knowledge related to chronic pain and IPV, and a profile of chronic pain experience, locations, management, and associations with other health problems within a sample of women with a history of IPV. The findings for this presentation are drawn from the Women’s Health Effects Study (WHES), a 4 year longitudinal investigation with a community sample of 309 women (19-63yrs) recruited from 3 Canadian provinces. All participant women had left their abusive partners between 6 months and 3 years previously, and were screened for inclusion with a modified Abuse Assessment Screen. Chronic pain was measured using the Von Korff Chronic Pain Grade scale with one third of the sample experiencing Pain Grade III or IV, reflecting high levels of interference in daily activity in the past 6 months.  Discussion of the findings with implications for understanding important factors related to chronic pain and IPV will be discussed. Practice implications will also be highlighted.