• Factors that influence functional status in intentionally injured women

      Glass, Nancy Ellen; Soeken, Karen (2001)
      Background. Interpersonal violence results in severe injuries requiring treatment in emergency departments and trauma units. Previous studies indicate that women who seek care for intentional injuries are more likely than women who seek care for nonintentional injuries to be discharged without further treatment. Women's opportunities to obtain resources to ensure follow-up services in the community may be limited. Women who survive intentional injuries are discharged with histories of victimization, physical and psychological symptoms, and few resources to assist them to address the sequelae of violence. Few studies have examined how these factors influence functional status. Objective. To identify and explore factors that influence functional status in women who survived an intentional injury by an intimate or ex-intimate partner or another person. Design. A retrospective cohort design. Measures. The Women's Health Questionnaire was developed with previously validated instruments on severity of violence, physical and psychological symptoms, substance abuse, trauma recurrence, social support, and functional status. Setting. R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical System. Participants. Most of the 76 participants were young (18-45 years), African-American (70%), and living in poverty; 74% reported annual incomes of less than {dollar}15,000. Results. The effects of violence (physical, psychological, psychosocial) explained 23.8% of the variance in functional status. Almost 60% of the women screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 36.8% reported a lifetime history of drug use, and 64.5% reported a lifetime history of intimate partner violence. Women reported that health care providers gave little attention to the mental health effects of violence and their capacity to fully participate in life; 62% of women assaulted by an intimate or ex-intimate partner were not referred to a domestic violence program or shelter. Conclusions. The effects of violence were the strongest predictor of functional status in intentionally injured women. Women reported serious PTSD symptoms, substantial substance abuse, and multiple traumatic events. They also reported that they had not been provided adequate resources to address the effects of violence. This study should challenge nurses and other health care professional to assess survivors of violence, intervene, and refer the survivors to community-based services that will enable them to maintain optimal functioning.