Randomized comparison of 3 methods to screen for domestic violence in family practice

Ping Hsin Chen, Sue Rovi, Judy Washington, Abbie Jacobs, Marielos Vega, Ko Yu Pan, Mark S. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: We undertook a study to compare 3 ways of administering brief domestic violence screening questionnaires: self-administered questionnaire, medical staff interview, and physician interview. METHODS: We conducted a randomized trial of 3 screening protocols for domestic violence in 4 urban family medicine practices with mostly minority patients. We randomly assigned 523 female patients, aged 18 years or older and currently involved with a partner, to 1 of 3 screening protocols. Each included 2 brief screening tools: HITS and WAST-Short. Outcome measures were domestic violence disclosure, patient and clinician comfort with the screening, and time spent screening. RESULTS: Overall prevalence of domestic violence was 14%. Most patients (93.4%) and clinicians (84.5%) were comfortable with the screening questions and method of administering them. Average time spent screening was 4.4 minutes. Disclosure rates, patient and clinician comfort with screening, and time spent screening were similar among the 3 protocols. In addition, WAST-Short was validated in this sample of minority women by comparison with HITS and with the 8-item WAST. CONCLUSIONS: Domestic violence is common, and we found that most patients and clinicians are comfortable with domestic violence screening in urban family medicine settings. Patient self-administered domestic violence screening is as effective as clinician interview in terms of disclosure, comfort, and time spent screening.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)430-435
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


  • Domestic violence/diagnosis
  • Screening


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