Crime is a major source of stress for its
victims. To the extent that stress is linked to illness, criminal
victimization may be associated with medical service usage. This study
was conducted to explore the impact of criminal victimization on the
psychological and physical well-being of women. Women were the focus
of the study in order to examine the disproportionate effects of
interpersonal violence. The study was conducted at a worksite in
Cleveland, Ohio. In order to increase the availability of complete
medical histories, participants were members of a worksite health
maintenance plan. Plan members were randomly selected and contacted by
telephone or mail to arrange interviews.
The study was conducted at a single worksite in
Cleveland, Ohio. To increase the availability of medical histories,
respondents were members of a worksite health maintenance plan. Data
consist of self-assessments of physical and psychological health
conducted in personal interviews and objective data collected from
medical records. To assure confidentiality, interviewers were not
employees of the health maintenance plan. Interviewers received
instruction in the interview protocol. The survey was developed using
the "Total Design Method" in order to maximize response rates.
Two sampling methods were used. Approximately 20 percent
of the female members of the health maintenance plan were contacted by
telephone. This resulted in 194 completed personal interviews. To
augment the number of victimized women included in the sample,
screening surveys were sent to all women health plan members,
resulting in another 219 completed interviews.
Adult women who were members of a health maintenance plan
at a worksite in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1986.
personal interviews, and medical records
survey data, and event/transaction data
Interviews covered the extent to which women were
victimized by crime and their usage of medical services. Questions
used to measure criminal victimization were taken from the National
Crime Survey and focused on purse snatching, home burglary, attempted
robbery, robbery with force, threatened assault, and assault. In
addition, specific questions concerning rape and attempted rape were
developed for the study. Health status was assessed by using a number
of instruments, including the Cornell Medical Index, the Mental Health
Index, and the RAND Corporation test battery for their Health
Insurance Experiment. Medical service usage was assessed by reference
to medical records.
For individuals contacted by telephone: 19
percent resulting in 194 interviews, including both victims and
nonvictims of crime. For individuals contacted by mail: 45 percent
resulting in 219 additional victims of crime. The two contact methods
yielded 413 interviews with complete data available for 390 of them.