• Journal Article

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


Velez, M. L., Montoya, I. D., Jansson, L. M., Walters, V., Svikis, D., Jones, H., ... Campbell, J. (2006). Exposure to violence among substance-dependent pregnant women and their children. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30(1), 31-38.


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. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved