Studies on routine inquiry about violence victimization and alcohol consumption in youth clinics

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Rosensalen, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Palm, Anna
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Obstetrik & gynekologi
  • Kontaktperson: Palm, Anna
  • Disputation


Objectives: Violence victimization is common in youth, and the association between victimization and ill-health is well established. Youth is also the period when alcohol risk drinking is most prevalent. At youth clinics in Västernorrland, Sweden, a randomized controlled intervention was conducted examining health outcomes and risk drinking after implementing routine inquiry about violence victimization and alcohol consumption.

Methods: Participants in the intervention group underwent routine inquiry about violence victimization and alcohol consumption. Victimized participants received empowering strategies and were offered further counseling. Risk drinkers received motivational interviewing (MI). All participants answered questionnaires about sociodemography and health at baseline, at 3 months and at 12 months. Of 1,445 eligible young women, 1,051 (73%) participated, with 54% of them completing the 12-month follow-up. Males were excluded from the quantitative analysis owing to the low number of male participants. Fifteen research interviews examining the experience of routine inquiry were conducted.

Results: Violence-victimized young women reported more ill health than non-victimized women did. This was especially evident for those who had been multiply victimized. There were no differences in health outcomes between the baseline and the 12-month follow-up for the intervention group and for the control group. Of the victimized women in the intervention group, 14% wanted and received further counseling. There was a significant decrease in risk drinking from baseline to follow-up, but no differences between the MI group and the controls. There was a large intra-individual mobility in the young women’s drinking behavior.

In interviews, the participants described how questions about violence had helped them to process prior victimization. For some, this initiated changes such as leaving a destructive relationship or starting therapy. The participants considered risk drinking in terms of consequences and did not find unit-based guidelines useful.

Conclusion: Violence victimization, especially multiple victimization, was strongly associated with ill health in young women. Routine inquiry about violence and subsequent follow-up led to a high degree of disclosure but did not improve self-reported health. However, victimized participants described talking about prior victimization as very helpful. Participants viewed risk drinking in terms of consequences rather than in quantity or frequency of alcohol, which may render unit-based drinking guidelines less useful when addressing risk drinking in youth.