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Traumatic brain injury and PTSD symptoms as a consequence of intimate partner violence.

Iverson KM, Dardis CM, Pogoda TK. Traumatic brain injury and PTSD symptoms as a consequence of intimate partner violence. Comprehensive psychiatry. 2017 Apr 1; 74:80-87.

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OBJECTIVE: To effectively diagnose and treat women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), it is important to identify the full range of physical and mental health consequences, including hidden wounds such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We aimed to identify the occurrence of IPV-related TBI and associated PTSD symptoms among women veterans who experienced IPV. METHODS: A web-based survey was administered in 2014 to a national sample of U.S. women veterans. Among 411 respondents (75% participation rate), 55% reported IPV during their lives. These participants (N = 224) completed screening measures of IPV-related TBI, PTSD, and past-year IPV and comprised the current sample. RESULTS: A total of 28.1% (n = 63) met criteria for IPV-related TBI history, and 12.5% (n = 28) met criteria for IPV-related TBI with current symptoms. When adjusting for race, income, and past-year IPV, women with IPV-related TBI with current symptoms were 5.9 times more likely to have probable IPV-related PTSD than those with no IPV-related TBI history. Despite symptom overlap between TBI and PTSD, women with IPV-related TBI with current symptoms were significantly more likely to meet criteria for all four DSM-5 PTSD symptom clusters compared to women with an IPV-related TBI history without current symptoms (Cramér''s V''s = .34-.42). CONCLUSION: Findings suggest there may be clinical utility in screening women who experience lifetime IPV for both TBI and PTSD symptoms in order to help clinicians better target their examinations, treatment, and referrals.

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