Organizational influences on the intimate partner violence and sexual violence screening practices of college health care providers

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Experts and professional organizations in the U.S. have issued recommendations that health care providers (HCPs) should screen women for intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence (SV). Despite the high rates of IPV and SV experienced by female college students, investigators have found that providers are not screening for IPV and SV in college health centers. In this study, a cross-sectional survey design was utilized to: (a) examine college HCPs’ reports of IPV/SV screening behaviors and (b) identify the individual-level and organization-level structure and process characteristics that promote or inhibit IPV/SV screening. A total of 773 college HCPs (physicians, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses) were invited to participate in the study using two separate sampling frames. The final sample included 210 college HCPs. Providers reported low rates of IPV/SV screening (median = 20%). Screening rates varied by provider type with nurse practitioners reporting the highest screening rates. Urban location was associated with a three and one-half times greater likelihood of IPV/SV screening. Use of an electronic health record that included a prompt to screen was associated with a three-fold increase in the likelihood that HCPs would screen for IPV/SV. Further study is needed to better understand how organizational factors influence providers’ screening behaviors in college health centers and how these influences are mediated. Future studies should include larger and more diverse samples of colleges and examine geographical variations in screening practices.

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Research in Nursing and Health