Sorenson, Susan B
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PublicationNon-Fatal Gun Use in Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review of the Literature(2016-09-01) Sorenson, Susan B; Schut, Rebecca AGuns figure prominently in the homicide of women by an intimate partner. Less is known, however, about their non-fatal use against an intimate partner. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched eight electronic databases and identified 10 original research articles that reported the prevalence of the non-fatal use of firearms against an intimate partner. Results indicate that: 1) There is relatively little research on the subject of intimate partners’ non-fatal gun use against women. 2) The number of U.S. women alive today who have had an intimate partner use a gun against them is substantial: About 4.5 million have had an intimate partner threaten them with a gun and nearly one million have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. Whether non-fatal gun use is limited to the extreme form of abuse (battering) or whether it occurs in the context of situational violence remains to be seen. Regardless, when it comes to the likely psychological impact, it may be a distinction without a difference; because guns can be lethal quickly and with relatively little effort, displaying or threatening with a gun can create a context known as coercive control, which facilitates chronic and escalating abuse. Implications for policy, practice, and research are discussed, all of which include expanding an implicit focus on homicide to include an intimate partner’s non-fatal use of a gun. PublicationCommunity-based Norms about Intimate Partner Violence: Putting Attributions of Fault and Responsibility into Context(2005-12-03) Taylor, Catherine A; Sorenson, Susan BFault and responsibility are key concepts in understanding how victims and assailants are, or are not, held accountable by society. We used a fractional factorial vignette design with a community-residing sample of 3,679 adults to examine judgments about intimate partner violence (IPV). Although fault, or causal responsibility, was assigned most often to assailants (69%), respondents assigned solution responsibility most often to both persons (52%) or to the victim alone (31%): interpersonal communication for couples (38%) and self-protective actions for victims (i.e., engaging formal authorities [12%] and/or leaving the assailant [11%]) were the most frequent suggestions. Potential injury to the victim and gender/relationship-based norms had the greatest impact on judgments. Findings may inform strategies to alter social norms regarding IPV. Publication“I Didn't Know I Could Turn Colors”: Health Problems and Health Care Experiences of Women Strangled by an Intimate Partner(2012-10-18) Joshi, Manisha; Thomas, Kristie A; Sorenson, Susan BStrangulation is a unique and particularly pernicious form of intimate partner violence. To increase the relatively little that is known about strangulation survivors, focus groups and interviews were conducted as part of a practice–research engagement with a domestic violence shelter. All of the participants had been strangled and, among them, almost all were strangled multiple times. The loss of consciousness was common. Participants associated “choking” with use of body parts and “strangling” with use of objects. Although some minimized the assault, most considered strangulation to be serious and reported a variety of medical conditions following the assault. Few sought medical care. Of those who did, few disclosed the assault, or were asked about strangulation, which commonly resulted in misdirected treatment. Implications for improving detection and treatment are discussed. PublicationSafe Access to Safe Water in Low Income Countries: Water Fetching in Current Times(2011-05-01) Sorenson, Susan B; Morssink, Christiaan; Abril Campos, PaolaA substantial portion of the world’s population does not have ready access to safe water. Moreover, obtaining water may involve great expense of time and energy for those who have no water sources in or near home. From an historical perspective, with the invention of piped water, fetching water has only recently become largely irrelevant in many locales. In addition, in most instances, wells and clean surface water were so close by that fetching was not considered a problem. However, population growth, weather fluctuations and social upheavals have made the daily chore of carrying water highly problematic and a public health problem of great magnitude for many, especially women, in the poor regions and classes of the world. In this paper, we consider gender differences in water carrying and summarize data about water access and carrying from 44 countries that participated in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) program. Women and children are the most common water carriers, and they spend considerable time (many trips take more than an hour) supplying water to their households. Time is but one measure of the cost of fetching water; caloric expenditures, particularly during droughts, and other measures that affect health and quality of life must be considered. The full costs of fetching water must be considered when measuring progress toward two Millennium Development Goals – increasing access to safe drinking water and seeking an end to poverty. PublicationBuying a Handgun for Someone Else: Firearm Dealer Willingness to Sell(2003-06-01) Sorenson, Susan BTo examine firearm dealer willingness to sell when a handgun is being purchased for another person. US law requires a background check of the purchaser but not the end user of a firearm. A total of 120 handgun dealers (six from each of the 20 largest US cities with 10 or more dealers) participated in telephone interviews. Dealers within each city were randomly assigned to a male or female interviewer and then randomly assigned to one of three purchase conditions—when the consumer said that the handgun was for him/herself, a gift for a girl/boyfriend, or for a girl/boyfriend "because s/he needs it". PublicationDeveloping a Practical Forecasting Screener for Domestic Violence Incidents(2005-01-25) Berk, Richard A; Sorenson, Susan B; He, YanIn this paper, we report on the development of a short screening tool that deputies in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department could use in the field to help forecast domestic violence incidents in particular households. The data come from over 500 households to which sheriff's deputies were dispatched in the fall of 2003. Information on potential predictors was collected at the scene. Outcomes were measured during a three month follow-up. The data were analyzed with modern data mining procedures in which true forecasts were evaluated. A screening instrument was then developed based on a small fraction of the information collected. Making the screening instrument more complicated did not improve forecasting skill. Taking the relative costs of false positives and false negatives into account, the instrument correctly forecasted future calls for service about 60% of the time. Future calls involving domestic violence misdemeanors and felonies were correctly forecast about 50% of the time. The 50% figure is especially important because such calls require a law enforcement response and yet are a relatively small fraction of all domestic violence calls for service. A number of broader policy implications follow. It is feasible to construct a quick-response, domestic violence screener that is practical to deploy and that can forecast with useful skill. More informed decisions by police officers in the field can follow. Although the same kinds of predictors are likely to be effective in a wide variety of jurisdictions, the particular indicators selected will vary in response to local demographics and the local costs of forecasting errors. It is also feasible to evaluate such quick-response threat assessment tools for their forecasting accuracy. But, the costs of forecasting errors must be taken into account. Also, when the data used to build the forecasting instrument are also used to evaluate its accuracy, inflated estimates of forecasting skill are likely. PublicationThe nature of newspaper coverage of homicide(2002-01-01) Taylor, Catherine A; Sorenson, Susan BPrevious research has shown that some homicides are more likely than others to receive newspaper coverage (for example, homicides by strangers). The present investigation examined whether, once the decision has been made to report on a homicide, the nature of the coverage (that is, how much visibility is given to a story, what information is included, and how a story is written) differs according to two key variables, victim ethnicity, and victim-suspect relationship. PublicationHigh School Students' Attitudes about Firearms Policies(2003-12-01) Vittes, Katherine A; Sorenson, Susan B; Gilbert, DennisPurpose: To examine high school students’ attitudes about firearm policies and to compare their attitudes with those of adults. Methods: The Hamilton Youth and Guns Poll is the first national survey of high school students about their attitudes concerning firearm policies. Questions were asked of 1005 sophomores, juniors, and seniors about their actual (i.e., direct) exposure (e.g., presence of a gun in the home) and about their social (i.e., indirect) exposure (e.g., whether the student could get a gun) to firearms and related violence. Population weights were applied, and multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between demographic and exposure variables and opinions about firearm policies. Results: Most high school students supported more restrictive firearm policies. Opinions varied little by demographic variables with the exception of gender. Females were significantly more supportive of most firearm policies. Actual exposure was a more consistent predictor than social exposure. Students living in a home with a gun, particularly a handgun, were less likely to support most restrictive gun policies. Conclusions: Most high school students in the United States favor stringent policies governing firearms. Adolescents' attitudes about firearm policies parallel those of adults. PublicationThe Gender Gap among Teen Survey Respondents: Why are Boys more Likely to Report a Gun in the Home than Girls?(2005-03-03) Cook, Philip J; Sorenson, Susan BIt is a reliable though unexplained feature of national surveys that include items on gun ownership that wives are less likely to report a gun in the home than husbands. In this article we extend the inquiry regarding this gender gap in reporting of household guns to include adolescent children (age 12–17 years). The California Health Interview Survey of 2001, the largest-ever state survey of its kind, includes over 4000 marital households in which both a parent and adolescent child were interviewed and asked whether there was a gun in the home. There is little "age gap" in reporting - California teens are almost as likely to say that there is a gun as are their parents - but there is a gender gap among both the teens and their parents. We also find a large gap in personal experience with guns - boys are three times as likely to report hunting or shooting with a family member than girls. This difference in experience fully accounts for the gender gap in reporting. The relevance of these findings for the interpretation of survey data is clear. Whether there is a gun reported in a home depends to a remarkable extent on which member of the household is asked the question. Hence, the method of selection of respondent(s) from within a household will affect estimates of the patterns and prevalence of gun ownership, and, potentially, the accuracy of case–control studies that use self-report information about guns in the home. PublicationA Systematic Review of the Epidemiology of Nonfatal Strangulation, a Human Rights and Health Concern(2014-11-01) Sorenson, Susan B; Joshi, Manisha; Sivitz, ElizabethWe reviewed the literature on the epidemiology of nonfatal strangulation (also, albeit incorrectly, called choking) by an intimate partner. We searched 6 electronic databases to identify cross-sectional, primary research studies from 1960 to 2014 that reported national prevalence estimates of nonfatal strangulation by an intimate partner among community-residing adults. Of 7260 identified references, 23 articles based on 11 self-reported surveys in 9 countries met the inclusion criteria. The percentage of women who reported ever having been strangled by an intimate partner ranged from 3.0% to 9.7%; past-year prevalence ranged from 0.4% to 2.4%, with 1.0% being typical. Although many epidemiological surveys inquire about strangulation, evidence regarding its prevalence is scarce. Modifying or adding a question to ongoing national surveys, particularly the Demographic and Health Surveys, would remedy the lack of data for low- and middle-income countries. In addition, when questions about strangulation are asked, findings should be reported rather than only combined with other questions to form broader categories (e.g., severe violence). Such action is merited because of the multiple negative short- and long-term sequelae of strangulation.