Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing




Dr. Marilyn Ford-Gilboe

Second Advisor

Dr. Colleen Varcoe


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a well recognized cause of significant health problems for women. Women who experience IPV are at risk of sustaining injuries to the head. The relationship between IPV and head injuries has not been well explored in the literature. This study examines the associations between extent of head injury, the neurological impact of such injury, and general physical and mental health of women who had experienced physical abuse by an intimate partner. This quantitative secondary analysis of a sample of women enrolled in the Women’s Health Effects Study showed high rates of head injury with loss of consciousness and other head and neck injuries. Women who experienced a head injury with loss of consciousness reported more frequent neurological symptoms, greater interference from those symptoms in their daily lives and poorer physical health. The number of head injuries (including head injuries with loss of consciousness and other head and neck injuries), frequency and interference of neurological symptoms predicted women’s physical and mental health. The findings of this study highlight the relationships between head injuries and health and argue for greater vigilance in screening of head injury and treating the resultihg neurological symptoms in women who experience IPV.



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