Barriers to disclosure of abuse among rural women.

Marion Kershner, Jon E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study were to examine the prevalence of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) in women seeking care in rural medical clinics and WIC voucher pick-up sites, and to discover ways of improving the response of health care providers to violence. Data were collected in 8 medical clinics and 17 WIC supplemental food program sites in 9 counties of west central Minnesota during January and February 1997. Fifteen percent of respondents reported having had a discussion about abuse with a health care provider. Six of the 8 symptoms and injuries most associated with abuse indicate diminished emotional health. A series of barriers are identified as substantial obstacles to obtaining help and revealing abuse to health care providers. The most frequently reported barriers were self-reliance, reliance on God, and reliance on friends and family. These findings show that a large percentage of rural women experience abuse and that their health is adversely affected. The barriers to disclosure of abuse reported in this study illustrate the complexity of disclosing abusive relationships in rural and other settings. Low screening levels suggest that rural health care providers can develop additional opportunities to discuss abuse with their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
Number of pages6
JournalMinnesota medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2002


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