Exposure to violence among substance-dependent pregnant women and their children

Martha L. Velez, Ivan D. Montoya, Lauren M. Jansson, Vickie Walters, Dace Svikis, Hendree E. Jones, Howard Chilcoat, Jacquelyn Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the prevalence of exposure to violence among drug-dependent pregnant women attending a multidisciplinary perinatal substance abuse treatment program. Participants (N = 715) completed the Violence Exposure Questionnaire within 7 days after their admission to the program. Their rates of lifetime abuse ranged from 72.7% for physical abuse to 71.3% for emotional abuse to 44.5% for sexual abuse. Their rates of abuse remained high during their current pregnancy, ranging from 40.9% for emotional abuse to 20.0% for physical abuse to 7.1% for sexual abuse. Nearly one third of the women reported having physical fights with their current partner (lifetime), and 25% of these women reported that children were present during those physical fights. A total of 30% of the women perceived a need for counseling regarding exposure to violence for themselves and 15% perceived a need for counseling for their children. Study findings confirm previous reports of high rates of abuse and violence exposure among substance-abusing pregnant women and their strong need for counseling for psychosocial sequelae. This study affirmed the value of routine screening for violence exposure in this at-risk population as well as the need to train therapists in specific strategies for helping such women address this complex array of problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2006

Keywords

  • Children
  • Drug dependence
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual/physical/emotional abuse
  • Violence
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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