The study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found female abuse victims average more than $1,200 more in healthcare costs for the first two years after abuse ended, compared with women who had not been abused.
Study co-authors Amy Bonomi of Ohio State University and Paul Fishman of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle said the study involved 2,026 women at Group Health Cooperative who consented to give researchers confidential access to their medical records.
The researchers said 859 women reported some type of abuse -- severe physical and sexual abuse to controlling behavior that could qualify as psychological abuse -- during their adult life, while 1,167 reported no abuse.
The researchers examined women's healthcare costs from 1992 to 2002 and took into account factors that may also be related to increased healthcare cost including the women's age, race and ethnicity, education and income, marital and employment status.
"Victims of abuse require more healthcare resources for years after their abuse ends," Bonomi said in a statement.
"If we can prevent domestic violence, we are not only helping the women involved, we are also saving money in our healthcare system."