An Exploratory Study

Feasibility and Efficacy of a Primary Health Care Intervention for Women in the Early Years After Leaving and Abusive Partner

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and New Brunswick Health Research Foundation from November 2009 to November 2012, the purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility and efficacy of health intervention for women who have recently left abusive male partners. The 6-month theory-based intervention will be delivered by nurses working in collaboration with outreach workers currently providing community services for women who have recently left abusive partners in New Brunswick.

Women who experience abuse have more physical and mental health problems than other Canadian women. For example, arthritis, back pain, bowel problems, difficulty sleeping, depression and anxiety are common health problems for abused women. These problems persist and often become chronic, even when women leave their partners, interfering with women's abilities to be self-sufficient and at significant cost to health and social systems. Effective programs to help abused women after leaving are a priority in many provinces. Similarly, health services focusing on prevention and self-management of health problems are important for improving health and reducing health care costs. Yet, few interventions to address the physical and mental health issues of women after leaving have been developed and evaluated.

The proposed outreach health intervention was designed for abused women using information collected from this population about their priority health challenges, strengths for managing health, and factors that obstruct their efforts. Finding new cost-effective ways to improve the health of women after leaving is important for planning policy and services nationally for this priority, at-risk group.

The research study has been collaboratively designed by the investigators and partners who will work together to implement this work. In addition, an Advisory Panel comprised of invested community leaders with expertise in domestic violence and services critical for survivors will be consulted throughout the project. The expertise of the panel will be vital for anticipating and addressing potential implementation challenges.


  • Judith Wuest, UNB Faculty of Nursing
  • Marilyn Merritt-Gray, UNB Faculty of Nursing
  • Marilyn Hodgins, UNB Faculty of Nursing
  • Jo Ann Majerovich, UNB Student Health Clinic
  • Norma Dubé, NB Women’s Issues Branch
  • Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, University of Western Ontario, School of Nursing
  • Colleen Varcoe, University of British Columbia, School of Nursing


  • Norma Dubé, NB Women's Issues Branch
  • Ken Ross, NB Department of Health
  • Judy Loukes, Liberty Lane Second Stage Housing
  • Liz Lautard, Liberty Lane Outreach Programming.