An Ignored Risk Factor For Chronic Health Conditions: Domestic Violence

An Ignored Risk Factor For Chronic Health Conditions: Domestic Violence

New National Survey from More Magazine and Verizon Foundation Reveals that Majority of Women Have Chronic Health Problems, With Significant Link to Domestic Violence
Friday, October 25, 2013 - 4:55pm

CAMPAIGN: Domestic Violence Awareness

CONTENT: Press Release

New York, NY, October 25, 2013 /3BL Media/ –  A groundbreaking research found that 70 percent of American women report suffering from some type of chronic health problem and that women who have experienced domestic violence are significantly more likely to suffer from a chronic health condition.  Additionally, almost half of American women (44%) have experienced a form of domestic violence at the hands of a partner, according to a new report released by More magazine in partnership with the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic entity of Verizon.  The full report will be available in the November 2013 issue of More magazine, on newsstands today.

The survey, conducted by GfK Custom Research and commissioned by the Verizon Foundation, also indicates that the nation’s health practitioners are not screening for domestic violence during exams or making the connection between chronic health conditions and domestic violence.

“It is our duty as women in the media to bring vital domestic violence research to the forefront and to spark a national conversation,” said More Editor-in-Chief Lesley Jane Seymour. “More values its relationship with the Verizon Foundation and is honored to reveal such groundbreaking information.”

Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon vice president of global corporate social responsibility and president of the Verizon Foundation, said, “We can’t fully address the long-term chronic health conditions among women without also talking about the connection to and consequences of domestic violence. This research is important in that it opens up a new way to understand how healthcare providers can play a significant role in preventing domestic violence and chronic health problems.”

Among the survey’s key findings:

If it’s Not You, It’s Your Sister, Friend, Coworker:

Instances of domestic violence reported in the survey aren’t limited to physical attacks. Other examples include:

  • 38% of women suffer emotional abuse.
  • 25% of women suffer physical abuse.
  • 18% of women suffer sexual abuse.
  • 16% of women suffer economic abuse (have had finances controlled or money withheld by a partner).

Abused Women are more likely to Suffer from Chronic Conditions

Years after the bruises caused by domestic violence fade, the physical effects can linger in the form of serious health problems, like impaired brain, immune or endocrine system function. Among the findings:

  • 70% of women report having a chronic health condition, including lower back pain (26%), high blood pressure (26%), migraines and chronic headaches (24%) or difficulty sleeping (23%).
  • 81% of the women who said they have experienced abuse have a chronic health condition versus 62% of women who said they have never experienced abuse.
  • Women who said they have experienced abuse have more chronic health conditions (2.7 conditions per person) than women who said they haven’t (1.7 conditions per person).

We Think it’s Important to Talk about Abuse, but Many Doctors Aren’t Asking

Domestic violence often creates health problems that can linger for decades. Women aren’t examined thoroughly enough; they aren’t asked what happened to them; they don’t bring up the injuries with their doctor; or they do tell medical personnel, but they aren’t believed. Among the findings:

  • 92% of respondents said it is important for doctors and nurses to ask about domestic violence during an exam.
  • However, 75% of respondents said they have never been asked during an exam if they have experienced abusive behaviors.
  • Dentists and dental hygienists, who are in a unique position to see soft tissue injuries inside a woman’s mouth after she’s been hit in the face or choked, are also not asking the tough questions. Only 3% of respondents said a dental professional has ever asked them about abuse.
  • Fewer than one in five women (18%) who had been asked questions about domestic violence say their healthcare professional provided them with resources or a referral to get help.

Survey methodology:

To better understand the connection between domestic violence and chronic health conditions, More partnered with the Verizon Foundation on The Verizon Foundation and More Magazine Survey: Exploring the Relationship between Domestic Violence and Chronic Health Conditions.  Research organization GFK conducted the survey from August 7 to August 12, 2013.  The survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,005 women over age 21, and the survey’s margin of error for this study is +/-3.8%.

About The Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation is focused on using technology to solve critical social issues in the areas of energy management, education, and healthcare.  Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities.  For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook ( and Twitter (

About More magazine

Launched in September 1998, critically acclaimed More is the only lifestyle publication that celebrates women of style and substance. More is the leading voice of women enjoying the richest years of their lives, sharing the latest on beauty, fashion, health, career, finance, travel and culture. More serves a community of affluent, influential women interested in reinventing themselves and their world. More is published 10 times a year by Meredith Corporation with a rate base of 1.3 million and readership of more than two million. More was named 2006 Magazine of the Year by Ad Age and also landed on the publication’s “A List” of Top 10 magazines in 2007, 2005 and 2003. Also, Adweek named More to its 2006 “Hot List,” Capell’s Circulation Report honored More as one of the Top 10 Newsstand Performers in 2006, while Media named More the “Best Women’s Lifestyle Magazine” of 2004.

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Twitter: @MoreMag

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