Abuse and Perinatal Outcomes in Military Women


Name: Phyllis Sharps


Organization: University of Maryland, Baltimore

Performance Site: University of Maryland-Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD; San Diego Naval Medial Center, San Diego, CA; Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, (Perinata Clinics), San Antonio,TX

Year Published: 1996

Abstract Status: Final


This study documented the prevalence of violence in pregnant and postpartum military populations. In phase I, 609 pregnant active duty military and dependents completed the Abuse Assessment Screen, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. In phase II, 42 women completed a routine interview procedure; those reporting abuse were assessed for severity and danger.Recruitment was at San Diego Naval Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Women unable to read or respond to the survey instruments were excluded. Women with a male partner were not approached.Phase II recruitment was at postpartum follow-up. Women in phase I were excluded. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson's Moment Correlation, t tests, and chi-square analysis. Alpha was set at .05.All women were aged 16 to 47 years. Most reported education beyond high school and many had college degrees. Most were married. Over half were white and military dependents. Most active duty participants were in the Navy; 80% were enlisted.Abuse prevalence was 19.5%. Prevalence of physical abuse in the past year was 5.9% and forced sex in the past year, 2.0%. Of those abused within the past year, 20% reported forced sex and almost half had been abused during pregnancy.Abuse was not related to race, military rank, or dependent status. A significantly higher percentage of separated or divorced women had been abused, abused within the past year, and had forced sex within the past year. Those abused had higher levels of depression and lower self-esteem. Abuse variables significantly predicted depression.The abuse during pregnancy rate (3%) is consistent with civilian reports. The data suggest that women should be universally screened for abuse during the year prior to pregnancy. Decreasing the risk for abuse may also result in better maternal and infant outcomes.


Final report is available on NTRL: https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2008110...