Comparing The Effectiveness Of An Interactive, Internet-Based Safety- Seeking Decision Aid For African American And White Women In Abusive Relationships
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentPublic Health and Policy
ProgramDoctor of Public Health
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pattern of intimidating control by a former or current intimate partner. Studies show that African American women, although more prone to IPV than their White counterparts, are less likely to seek help from health or other service providers. We designed this study to investigate the effectiveness of an internet-based safety decision aid intervention to help abused women assess the danger they face and to increase their safety-seeking behaviors. We also compared the effectiveness of such a system for Whites and African Americans. The data used for this analysis came from 164 women in abusive relationships who participated anonymously in the internet-based intervention known as Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) in Maryland. In this study, women in the intervention group were 8 percentage points (60% vs. 52%) more likely than those in the control group to find safety seeking helpful. The difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.08). The difference was similar for White (7%) and African American women (8%), with a p-value for interaction of 0.926. The perception of helpfulness was higher among African American Women (60%) than White Women (50%). The p-value was 0.02. Results show that the danger score was reduced by 1.16 (from 14.73 to 13.57) in the intervention group and by 0.35 (from 12.64 to 12.29) in the control group. This difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.55). There was no significant difference between Whites and African Americans in the reduction of the danger score (p = 0.32). While the results did not reach statistical significance they reflect a substantial increase in the perception of the utility of safety-seeking behaviors for both African American and White females. Further research with larger sample sizes, particularly of African American women, is warranted.