OBJECTIVE: We estimated the efficacy of a psycho-behavioral intervention in reducing intimate partner violence (IPV) recurrence during pregnancy and postpartum, and in improving birth outcomes in African-American women
METHODS: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which 1,044 women were recruited. Individually-tailored counseling sessions were adapted from evidence-based interventions for IPV and other risks. Logistic regression was used to model IPV victimization recurrence, to predict minor, severe, physical and sexual IPV.
RESULTS: Women randomized to the intervention were less likely to have recurrent episodes of IPV victimization (OR=0.48, 95%CI=0.29-0.80). Women with minor IPV were significantly less likely to experience further episodes during pregnancy (OR=0.48, 95%CI=0.26-0.86, OR=0.53, 95%CI=0.28-0.99) and postpartum (OR=0.56, 95%CI=0.34-0.93). Numbers needed to treat were 17, 12, and 22, respectively as compared to the usual care Women with severe IPV showed significantly reduced episodes at postpartum (OR=0.39, 95%CI=0.18-0.82) and number needed to treat is 27. Women who experienced physical IPV showed significant reduction at the first follow-up (OR=0.49, 95%CI=0.27-0.91) and postpartum (OR=0.47, 95%CI=0.27-0.82) and number needed to treat is 18 and 20, respectively. Intervention women had significantly fewer very preterm infants (p=0.03) and an increased mean gestational age (p=0.016).
CONCLUSION: A relatively brief intervention during pregnancy had discernable effects on IPV and pregnancy outcomes. Screening for IPV as well as other psychosocial and behavioral risks and incorporating similar interventions in prenatal care is strongly recommended.