About this item:

355 Views | 0 Downloads

Author Notes:

Contact for correspondence and reprints: Debra Houry, MD, MPH; Email: dhoury@emory.edu

The authors thank Drs. Sheryl Heron, Arthur Kellermann, and Karin Rhodes for their assistance with study conceptualization during grant submission.


Research Funding:

Supported by grant K23MH069375 from the National Institutes of Health (to DH).


  • intimate partner violence
  • depression
  • PTSD
  • suicide
  • emergency department

Development of a Brief Mental Health Screen for Intimate Partner Violence Victims in the Emergency Department


Journal Title:

Academic Emergency Medicine


Volume 14, Number 3


, Pages 202-209

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background Emergency physicians routinely treat victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and patients with mental health symptoms, although these issues may be missed without routine screening. In addition, research has demonstrated a strong association between IPV victimization and mental health symptoms. Objectives To develop a brief mental health screen that could be used feasibly in an emergency department to screen IPV victims for depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and suicidal ideation. Methods The authors conducted a pretest/posttest validation study of female IPV victims to determine what questions from the Beck Depression Inventory II, Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, and Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation would predict moderate to severe levels of depressive symptoms, PTSD symptoms, and suicidal ideation. A principal components factor analysis was conducted to determine which questions would be used in the brief mental health screen. Scatter plots were then created to determine a cut point. Results Scores on the brief mental health screen ranged from 0 to 8. A cutoff score of 4 was used, which resulted in positive predictive values of 96% for the brief mental health screen for depression, 84% for PTSD symptoms, and 54% for suicidal ideation. In particular, four questions about sadness, experiencing a traumatic event, the desire to live, and the desire to commit suicide were associated with moderate to severe mental health symptoms in IPV victims. Conclusions The brief mental health screen provides a tool that could be used in an emergency department setting and predicted those IPV victims with moderate to severe mental health symptoms. Using this tool can assist emergency physicians in recognizing at-risk patients and referring these IPV victims to mental health services.

Copyright information:

© 2007 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Export to EndNote