Launching New Study: Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Blows to the head are common among women experiencing intimate partner abuse (IPA), as documented in recent research nationally (e.g., Corrigan, Wolfe, Mysiw, Jackson, & Bogner, 2003; Wilbur et al., 2001) and from the Traumatic Stress Studies Group (Gagnon & DePrince, 2017). Despite prevalence data, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and IPA have received scant policy and research attention. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 report to Congress, Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Epidemiology and Rehabilitation, failed to even mention IPA.

Victim service providers, recognizing the occurrence of TBIs among clients, have begun to integrate traumatic brain injury (TBI) screenings into practice. Unfortunately, the lack of research on TBI and IPA means that there is not yet an adequate empirical base to inform practices for the use of TBI screenings in decision-making and treatment-planning for women experiencing IPA.

We plan to address these gaps in a new study.

With funding from MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network (Colorado Department of Human Services), the Traumatic Stress Studies Group will collaborate with Drs. Julia Dmitrieva (Department of Psychology, University of Denver), Kim Gorgens (Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver) and the Rose Andom Center to answer key questions about TBI and IPA.

In particular, we have designed a study that promises to result in an empirically-informed approach to screening for TBI among women experiencing IPA. By partnering with the Rose Andom Center — a multidisciplinary facility that serves women who have experienced IPA — we will ensure that the research conducted is relevant to providers and ready for their use. We also hope that this research will advance understanding and awareness of links between IPA and TBI in Colorado — and nationally.

Stay tuned for more on this new study as we begin data collection later this year.

Published by Anne P. DePrince, PhD

Author of "Every 90 Seconds: Our Common Cause Ending Violence Against Women" (Oxford University Press), Anne is Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Associate Vice Provost of Public Good Strategy and Research at the University of Denver. She directs the Traumatic Stress Studies Group.

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