In a new study, researchers found 90% of men believe their doctors should ask whether they have perpetrated or experienced domestic violence — but only 13% have ever been asked.
The large gap between those who have been asked about domestic violence and those willing to discuss it suggests that physicians have an opportunity to begin more conversations about domestic violence and potentially intervene.
The findings are from a nationally representative survey of young men.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The team designed their work to fill gaps in knowledge about men’s experiences with domestic violence.
As part of a broader survey on health, fatherhood, and relationships conducted in partnership with the market research company Ipsos, the study polled 916 U.S. men aged 18 to 35 who had been in an intimate relationship.
90% of men reported perpetrating domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, and 27 percent said they had been victims of abuse — findings in line with previous research.
The majority of men involved in intimate partner violence reported being both perpetrators and victims.
The survey defined intimate partner violence as any degree of physical violence perpetrated against or by a current or former spouse or romantic partner.
Other types of abuse such as emotional or verbal abuse were not included in the study.
Men who said they had been victims of violence were somewhat more likely to believe that doctors should ask about their experiences.
Although men who reported perpetrating intimate partner violence were slightly less likely to support conversations with their doctor, the vast majority — 84%— still said that physicians should ask men about domestic violence.
The team says the new study should motivate health care and social workers to improve the health system’s response to intimate partner violence.
One author of the study is Tova Walsh, a professor of social work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The study is published in the Annals of Family Medicine.
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