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October 23/30, 2018

Challenges and Opportunities for Studying Routine Screening for Abuse

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Population Health Management, Northwell Health, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Manhasset, New York
  • 2Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3US Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2018;320(16):1645-1647. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.14745

The updated US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) review of the evidence on the harms and benefits of screening for intimate partner violence (IPV) and abuse of older and vulnerable adults1 and the accompanying USPSTF Recommendation Statement2 in this issue of JAMA are most remarkable for the lack of advancement since the 2013 recommendations.3 The evidence to date continues to support a B recommendation for the systematic IPV screening of women of reproductive age. Accordingly, “[t]he USPSTF recommends that clinicians screen for IPV in women of reproductive age and provide or refer women who screen positive to ongoing support services (B recommendation).”2 However, the evidence for broadening this recommendation to women not of reproductive age, men, elderly persons, and other vulnerable patients remains inconclusive, largely because of a lack of studies in these populations, and “[t]he USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for abuse and neglect in all older or vulnerable adults (I statement).”2

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