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Intimate partner violence (IPV) and abuse of older or vulnerable adults are common in the United States but often remain undetected. In addition to the immediate effects of IPV, such as injury and death, there are other health consequences, many with long-term effects, including development of mental health conditions such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and suicidal behavior; sexually transmitted infections; unintended pregnancy; and chronic pain and other disabilities. Long-term negative health effects from elder abuse include death, higher risk of nursing home placement, and adverse psychological consequences.
To update the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) 2013 recommendation on screening for IPV, elder abuse, and abuse of vulnerable adults.
The USPSTF commissioned a review of the evidence on screening for IPV in adolescents, women, and men; for elder abuse; and for abuse of vulnerable adults.
The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for IPV in women of reproductive age and providing or referring women who screen positive to ongoing support services has a moderate net benefit. There is adequate evidence that available screening instruments can identify IPV in women. The evidence does not support the effectiveness of brief interventions or the provision of information about referral options in the absence of ongoing supportive intervention components. The evidence demonstrating benefit of ongoing support services is predominantly found in studies of pregnant or postpartum women. The benefits and harms of screening for elder abuse and abuse of vulnerable adults are uncertain, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.
Conclusions and Recommendation
The USPSTF recommends that clinicians screen for IPV in women of reproductive age and provide or refer women who screen positive to ongoing support services. (B recommendation) The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for abuse and neglect in all older or vulnerable adults. (I statement)
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Corresponding Author: Susan J. Curry, PhD, The University of Iowa, 111 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for Publication: September 13, 2018.
Author Contributions: Dr Curry had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings. No other disclosures were reported.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Members: Susan J. Curry, PhD; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; Michael J. Barry, MD; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; David C. Grossman, MD, MPH; Alex R. Kemper, MD, MPH, MS; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; Ann Kurth, PhD, MPH; C. Seth Landefeld, MD; Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.
Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Members: University of Iowa, Iowa City (Curry); Fairfax Family Practice Residency, Fairfax, Virginia (Krist); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Krist); Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (Owens); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Owens); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); Columbia University, New York, New York (Davidson); University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling); Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Seattle (Grossman); Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio (Kemper); Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kubik); Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Kurth); University of Alabama at Birmingham (Landefeld); University of California, Los Angeles (Mangione); Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Silverstein); Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Simon); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts (Wong).
Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.
Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the US government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Additional Contributions: We thank Amanda Borsky, DrPH, MPP (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Lisa Nicolella, MA (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.
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