Physician Practices in Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Southern India: Insights from a Qualitative Study
Chibber, K. S., Krishnan, S., & Minkler, M. (2011). Physician Practices in Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Southern India: Insights from a Qualitative Study. Women & Health, 51(2), 168-185.
Health care providers in India are often the only institutional contact for women experiencing intimate partner violence, a pervasive public health problem with adverse health outcomes. This qualitative study was among the first to examine Indian primary care physicians' intimate partner violence practices. Between July 2007 and January 2008, 30 in-depth interviews were conducted with physicians serving low-to-middle income women aged 18-30 in southern India. A modified grounded theory approach was used for data collection and analysis. Study findings revealed a distinct subset of 'physician champions' who responded to intimate partner violence more consistently, informed women of their rights, and facilitated their utilization of support services. Findings also offered insights into physicians' ability to identify indications of intimate partner violence and use of potentially culturally appropriate practices to respond to intimate partner violence, even without training. However, physician practices were mediated by individual attitudes. Although not generalizable, findings offer some useful lessons which may be transferable for adaptation to other settings. A potential starting point is to study physicians' current practices, focusing on their safety and efficacy, as well as enhancing these practices through appropriate training. Further research is also needed on women's perspectives on the appropriateness of physicians' practices, and women's recommendations for intimate partner violence intervention strategies