Intimate Partner Violence and Reproductive Health Among Methamphetamine-Using Women in Los Angeles: A Qualitative Pilot Study

Abdul-Khabir, Wajidah; Hall, Timothy; Swanson, Aimee-Noelle; Shoptaw, Steven
September 2014
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs;Sep/Oct2014, Vol. 46 Issue 4, p310
Academic Journal
Among women, methamphetamine (meth) use has been associated with intimate partner violence (IPV); however, few studies have looked at the context of IPV. This qualitative pilot study explored the experiences of meth-using women in Los Angeles County regarding: (1) IPV in their most recent primary relationship; (2) use of contraception and reproductive health services; and (3) meth use during pregnancy. Participants (n=30) were recruited through community advertising and at three addiction treatment centers to participate in 15-20 minute, semi-structured interviews recorded with handwritten transcripts. The team analyzed transcripts for key themes. Participants reported IPV (n=19, 63%) as recipients (50%), perpetrators (40%), and/or both (27%), occurring mainly during active meth use or withdrawal. While most (n=25) continued meth use during at least one pregnancy, some (n=5, 17%) identified pregnancy as a motivation to quit or reduce use, suggesting an opportunity for intervention. Though most women knew about free and low-cost reproductive health services, few accessed them, with 33% citing aspects of meth use itself as a barrier. One-third (45/133) of reported pregnancies were terminated by abortion. Most women (67%) began using before age 18, suggesting need for screening and intervention among adolescents.


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