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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Barbara Goddard


identification of abused women, nurse and patient, family violence


The barriers preventing Iowa registered nurses from detecting physical abuse in adult female clients were investigated. The nurses born 1940 or later were randomly selected from the state board of nursing to complete a mailed self-report questionnaire (non-experimental descriptive correlational/analytical inferential research design). Reliable tools to measure social awareness, potential aids and barriers, as well as actual assessment of abuse, were developed and tested. A model was tested and revised based on analysis results. Results indicated the top barriers were (1) lack of privacy, (2) not a priority of my job, (3) other factors more important, (4) client denies problem, (5) superficial client contact, (6) does not happen in population I see.
Analysis of variance showed significance for some barriers regarding financial status, age, education, and personal abuse experience of the RN. Mental perceptions of "an abused woman" yielded overwhelmingly non-empowering responses including concepts of fear, low self-esteem, anger, bruises, and sadness.
Characteristics as well as opinions about domestic violence were reported, revealing over one-fourth believed abuse was more likely to occur in a group different from their own - low socioeconomic and low educated groups ranked highest. Over 90% had assessed for abuse 10 or fewer times in the last 12 months and 9% had experienced abuse personally. Over 75% reported their original nursing education provided little or no education about this topic, but over two-thirds were interested in acquiring more education and skill in assessing for domestic abuse. Over 70% agreed more time should be spent in nursing education discussing the prevention of and interventions for domestic violence.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Abused women -- Identification
Nurse and patient
Family violence



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1993 Maureen Horsley. All rights reserved