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Nursing Study Addresses Intimate Partner Violence Prevention

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Posted: 5/5/2010

A new research study to be conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) associate professor Nancy Glass will help women plan for their personal safety when ending an abusive relationship. 

Following an estrangement in an abusive relationship, Glass asserts that women are at an increased risk of lethal violence by the ex-partner.  Due to the danger inherent in leaving an abusive partner, or deciding to stay in an abusive relationship, she cautions that it is important for women to understand their own danger level and explore safety priorities thoroughly before taking action.

Through a $3.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Glass will evaluate techniques to help women make decisions and increase their safety when experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Glass and her fellow researchers will test the effectiveness of a two-fold interactive internet-based safety decision aid in four states (Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, and Oregon). The aid first reduces a woman's decisional conflicts that influence her behaviors and views of safety, and second increases safety-seeking behaviors to prevent exposure to repeated violence.  The team also will explore other preventative IPV measures and techniques designed to reduce the negative mental health outcomes associated with IPV such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and suicide.

"To our knowledge, there have been no experimental studies that have evaluated safety planning effectiveness or use of a safety decision aid to address this significant health priority for women," Glass said.  She added, "This aid will give women a much-needed opportunity to prioritize and plan for safety for themselves and their families. In the future [it] should provide a cost-effective, evidence-based safety-planning tool to be translated into practice by multiple disciplines, including mental health care professionals and advocates who work with victims of IPV."