Thursday, September 26, 2002

This presentation is part of : Womens Health: Outcomes, Issues and Implications

Paternity: Risk For Intimate Partner Femicide

Phyllis Sharps, RN, PhD, associate professor1, Faye Gary, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor2, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, RN, PhD, FAAN, Anna D. Wolf Endowed professor, associate dean for PhD Program and Research1, Jane Koziol-McLain, RN, PhD, associate professor3, Jennifer Mangenello, MPH, PhD candidate4, and Jennifer Hardesty, PhD, post doctoral fellow1. (1) School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA, (2) Nursing, U of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA, (3) Nursing, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, (4) Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Objective: To identify the relative risk for intimate partner violence, femicide or attempted femicide related to paternity of children. Design: Case control. Population, Sample, Setting, Years: Cases are women between 18 years and 50 years killed by a current or ex intimate partner and women who were the victim of an actual (N=220) or attempted (N=190) homicide by their intimate partner in 12 cities across the US. Survey and open-ended data was obtained from a proxy (family member or close family friend) for the femicide victims as well as police homicide files. The attempted femicide victims were interviewed (survey and open ended) by phone. The Controls were 380 abused women and 360 not abused women in the same cities obtained through random digit dialing sampling techniques. Concept or Variables: Survey and opened-ended items were used to obtain information about severity and frequency of intimate partner violence, stalking, harassing, emotionally abusive and controlling behaviors, risk factors for femicide (Danger Assessment), household composition and paternity of children, and victim and partner demographics. Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted after first obtaining informed consent. Data analysis consisted of descriptive, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression techniques. Findings: Victims of femicide and attempted femicide had significantly (p <.05) more children and step-children in the home compared to abused and non-abused controls. Increased risk for femicide (OR=2.63) and attempted femicide (OR=2.2) was associated with the presence of a stepchild in the home that was not the abusive partner's biological child, even controlling for demographics and all other risk factors. There was a significant additive interaction effect of the risk associated with stepchildren when combined with abuse during pregnancy, a highly controlling abusive partner, or his threats to harm the children. Conclusions: Maternal and child health nurses increased awareness that presence of a stepchild is a risk factor for IPV and intimate partner femicide. Implications: The couple conflict associated with the presence of stepchildren in the home is an issue that community health, maternal child and pediatric nurses can mitigate with anticipatory guidance and other parenting and family health promotion interventions. In addition, all women need to be routinely screened for IPV in all maternal and child health settings so that any violence can be immediately assessed with appropriate interventions implemented. Assessment of lethality potential using the Danger Assessment is an important first step. Acknowledgements: This research was supported under the Risk Factors in Violent Intimate Relations project R01 DA1156; funded by NIH, NIDA (PI: Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN). Dr, Sharps was supported by a Minority Supplement Research award funded by NIAAA and NIDA. Dr. Koziol-McLain was supported by the Interdisciplinary Research Training on Violence project funded by NIH, NIMH (T32 MH20014).

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