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Screening for Traumatic Brain Injury in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Screening for Traumatic Brain Injury in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Submitted on 26 Feb 2016

Lundgren, Murray, Hunnicutt, & Olson
Poster Views: 1,014
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Poster Abstract

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern of physical and/or sexual violence in the context of coercive control by a domestic partner or ex-partner. One of the many serious, yet underrepresented, consequence of IPV is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those individuals who are physically abused by their partners may sustain physical, psychological, and/or cognitive consequences as a result of the violence (Corrigan et al., 2003).

There are few studies examining the potential risk for TBI in individuals who have survived IPV. The current study was conducted to determine the incidence in a mid-size city in North Carolina.

The Police Department (PD) agreed to be involved in this study and IRB approval was received from UNCG. A Qualtrics survey was developed to collect data from a subset of electronic records coded as “aggravated assault-domestic violence” or ”sexual assault-domestic violence” during a one-year period.
Data collectors were trained and reliability measures for survey completion and data coding were obtained. The HELPS Brain Injury Screening Tool (Picard et al.,1999) was used to analyze a select subset in this group.

During a one-year period there were 140 reports coded as “aggravated assault-domestic violence” or ”sexual assault-domestic violence”. Using the HELPS Screening tool as a guide for determining risk, 81/140 cases or 58% had documented injuries to the head, neck, and/or face. In addition, 25/81 cases had documented alteration in consciousness at some point during the event . Of these 25 cases, 10 had documented behavioral changes, which included problems with concentration, reading, and writing .

Current research is lacking in regards to the incidence and severity of TBI resulting from IPV. In this current study, 25 survivors of domestic violence were identified as being at high risk for TBI. However, this may be a gross underrepresentation of the individuals with TBI due to reporting and documentation issues. Proper screening for possible TBI among persons who have experienced IPV is critical. Collaborative efforts with PDs to increase awareness and documentation of the signs and symptoms associated with TBI will be addressed in the next phase of our study.

Corrigan, J., Wolfe, M., Mysiw, J., Jackson, R. & Bogner, J. (2003). Early identification of mild traumatic brain injury in female victims of domestic violence. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 188, S71-S76.

Picard, N., Scarisbrick, R., & Paluck, R. (1999). HELPS (Grant No. H128A0002). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration, International Center for the Disabled (TBI-NET).
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