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Are ob-gyns comfortable discussing sexual trauma with patients?

Hannah C. Karpel, MS, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, discussed the findings from an investigation into ob-gyn clinician comforts and barriers associated with addressing sexual trauma in a poster presentation at AAGL’s 51st Global Congress on MIGS in Aurora, Colorado.

Hannah C. Karpel, MS, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, discussed the findings from an investigation into ob-gyn clinician comforts and barriers associated with addressing sexual trauma in a poster presentation at AAGL’s 51st Global Congress on MIGS in Aurora, Colorado.

The investigation began with a 50-item electronic questionnaire, given to 129 practicing ob-gyn clinician members of the AAGL or the International Pelvic Pain Society.

According to Karpel, 94% of survey respondents believed that discussing sexual trauma fit into their role as clinicians, but only 69.8% reported routinely screening for sexual trauma and 71.3% reported at least 1 barrier to discussing sexual trauma with patients. According to the results, the most common barriers included:

  • lack of proper resources or available referrals (70.7%)
  • lack of training in discussing sexual trauma (60.9%)
  • limited time with patients (58.7%)
  • fear of re-traumatization (56.7%)

Although female respondents reported more barriers in discussing sexual trauma than men (85.3% vs 52%, p = 0.0005), they were also more likely to screen patients for a history of sexual trauma (80.8% vs 52%, p=0.001).

Younger respondents were more likely to report barriers in discussing sexual trauma when compared to older respondants (p<0.05), and clinicians in training had a significantly higher interest in receiving further training on sexual trauma when compared to attending physicians (p<0.05). Interestingly, American ob-gyn clinicians were more likely to believe discussing sexual trauma as part of their role when compared to international clinicians (97.9% vs 87.1%, p=0.03).

American clinicians were more likely to screen patients for a history of sexual trauma and had significantly higher scores on a Likert scale of 0 to 10 for both comfort and preparedness in addressing sexual trauma compared to international clinicians (p<0.05).

Karpel and her team concluded that, despite barriers, their findings suggest that female and American clinicians were more likely to address, and were more comfortable with addressing sexual trauma. Additionally, younger clinicians were more eager for further training opportunities. Their findings call for a need of additional training on sexual trauma for ob-gyn clinicians.

Reference

Karpel H. 8120 - Differences in OB/GYN Clinician Comfort and Barriers in Addressing Sexual Trauma. Presented at: AAGL’s 51st Global Congress on MIGS; December 3, 2022; Aurora, Colorado.