The nurse is teaching a group of women at a community center about risk factors for spousal abuse. Which would the nurse identify as risk factors?

Select all that apply.
  1. alcohol or drug use
  2. low income or poverty
  3. being over the age of 40
  4. a higher level of education
  5. having a large circle of friends
  6. pregnancy, especially if it is unplanned
Numbers 1, 2, and 6 are correct.
Rationale: Risk factors for spousal abuse include alcohol or drug use by either partner and low income or living at the poverty level. An unplanned pregnancy may trigger violence in the spouse, especially if the couple has any of the other risk factors. The more risk factors a couple has, the greater the potential for abuse. The risk is greater for those under the age of 30. A higher level of education lessens the risk of abuse, but does not guarantee it will not occur. Having a large circle of friends is less risky than being socially isolated from friends or family. Many abusers control their spouses by keeping them from family and friends and limiting their freedom. The nurse must understand that simply living at a low income level or having less education does not automatically mean that the relationship is abusive, because abuse can occur in any environment for any number of reasons.