Child Abuse DV/IPV

Violence and the Nurses’ Health Study

When I think about the research out there being done on the impact of violence on health, I typically don’t think of the Nurses’ Health Study. So I was surprised to see this article in HuffPo about the linkage between childhood abuse and heart disease, as presented at the American Heart Association meeting this past weekend. That got me wondering…

…how much has the NHS looked at violence and health?

If you’re not familiar with the NHS, it’s a women’s health study conducted by researchers at Harvard’s School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a study almost as old as I am (terrifying), and they are currently recruiting female nurses from the US and Canada between the ages of 20 and 46 to participate (I signed up). I have been aware of their work looking at women and chronic disease, but I hadn’t really considered that they might also look at linkages between chronic disease and violence. So naturally I did a quick lit search, and lo and behold, they’ve published a number of articles in the last 3 years alone looking at both IPV and child abuse. There’s undoubtedly much more in the literature, but to get you started, here are some of the most recent, including a few available as free full-text PDFs (by date of publication):

Epidemiology (2011 Jan;22(1):6-14. PMID: 21068667)

Abuse in childhood and risk of uterine leiomyoma: the role of emotional support in biologic resilience.

Boynton-Jarrett R, Rich-Edwards JW, Jun HJ, Hibert EN, Wright RJ.


J Epidemiol Community Health (Published Online First: 4 February 2011)

Growing up in a domestic violence environment: relationship with developmental trajectories of body mass index during adolescence into young adulthood

Hee-Jin Jun, Heather L Corliss, Renée Boynton-Jarrett, Donna Spiegelman, S Bryn Austin, Rosalind J Wright


American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2010;39(6)529–536)

Abuse in Childhood and Adolescence As a Predictor of Type 2 Diabetes in Adult Women (FULL TEXT PDF)

Janet W. Rich-Edwards, ScD, Donna Spiegelman, ScD, Eileen N. Lividoti Hibert, MA, Hee-Jin Jun, ScD, Tamarra James Todd, PhD, Ichiro Kawachi, PhD, Rosalind J. Wright, MD


American Journal of Public Health (March 2008, Vol 98, No. 3)

Intimate Partner Violence and Cigarette Smoking: Association Between Smoking Risk and Psychological Abuse With and Without Co-Occurrence of Physical and Sexual Abuse (FULL TEXT PDF)

Hee-Jin Jun, ScD, MPH, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, ScD, MPH, Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD, and Rosalind J. Wright, MD, MPH


Journal of Women’s Health. (May 2008, 17(4): 597-606)

Disparities in Child Abuse Victimization in Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Women in the Nurses’ Health Study II

S. Bryn Austin, Hee-Jin Jun, Benita Jackson, Donna Spiegelman, Janet Rich-Edwards, Heather L. Corliss, and Rosalind J. Wright.


As we look to defending the work we do as health care, and the importance of health care dollars funding the work we do, add these articles to your arsenal. It allows us to better articulate why patients need us, regardless of their decisions to participate in the criminal justice system. Whether or not the hospital and insurance company number crunchers want to admit it, victims of violence will show up in our healthcare systems. It’s just a matter of when.