One in 4 men are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and 1 in 5 report being perpetrators of violence, according to the results of an online survey published in Annals of Family Medicine.1 However, only 1 in 10 men said that their primary care provider asked about their history with IPV during well visits.

Using data from the 2014 Men’s Health, Fatherhood, and Relationships Study, researchers analyzed the gaps between patient-reported IPV involvement and the frequency of clinicians screening for IPV.  The sample was limited to non-incarcerated men aged 18 to 35  years who stated that they have been in a romantic relationship.

Participants identified the frequency of physically violent behaviors they perpetrated or experienced in their relationship on a scale from 1 (never) to 4 (often). IPV was defined as perpetration only, victimization only, and perpetration and victimization. Researchers then used questions from a previous British study to assess beliefs about clinician IPV identification; participants were asked if clinicians should ask their patients whether they had hurt or been hurt or frightened a partner as well as if their provider has ever asked them these questions.2

A total of 916 respondents were included in the study. A majority of respondents (92.1%) expressed their support for clinicians asking male patients about IPV victimization, and 89.5% supported clinicians asking about IPV perpetration. However, only 13% of men reported being asked about victimization and 11% reported being asked about perpetration. Researchers noted that this gap is indicative of a need for increased IPV questioning and identification, in addition to interventions and referrals.


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Men who reported any involvement with IPV(n=271) were most likely to report that they experienced both perpetration and victimization (56%). Men who perpetrated IPV were more likely to report being asked about perpetration, but were less likely to support clinicians asking about both perpetration and victimization. Men who were victims of IPV were more likely to support clinicians asking male patients about IPV victimization.

Sociodemographic data points revealed additional trends in IPV screening practices and beliefs. Men with a lower education level were more likely to report being asked about IPV victimization. Black and non-Hispanic men were less likely to support clinicians asking male patients about IPV victimization.

Researchers found that 60% of young men surveyed saw at least 1 clinician regularly and noted that primary care providers have an opportunity to identify IPV with their male patients. “Primary care physicians can be mindful of distinct opportunities to address IPV among a broad range of male patients,” researchers said. “A larger age distribution might reveal cohort effects and reflect shifting social norms about gender roles and relationships.”

References

1. Walsh T, Seabrook RC, Tolman RM, Lee SL, Singh V. Prevalence of intimate partner violence and beliefs about partner violence screening among young men. Ann Fam Med. 2020;18(4):303-308.
2. Morgan K, Williamson E, Hester M, Jones S, Feder G. Asking men about domestic violence and abuse in a family medicine context: help seeking and views on the general practitioner role. Aggress Violent Behav. 2014;19(6):637-642.