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An Examination of Providers’ Awareness, Knowledge of Screening and Treatment, and Perceived Barriers Associated with Intimate Partner Violence-related Traumatic Brain Injury

Bitzer, Hannah B. (2021) An Examination of Providers’ Awareness, Knowledge of Screening and Treatment, and Perceived Barriers Associated with Intimate Partner Violence-related Traumatic Brain Injury. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 10 million men and women are physically abused by an intimate partner. Injuries to the head, neck, and face (HNF) occur at a high rate with survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). HNF injuries have the potential to result in traumatic brain injury (TBI) which may lead to chronic and negative physical (headaches, chronic pain, persistent vertigo) and mental health outcomes (post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression) if left untreated. Providers’ awareness of IPV-related TBI, screening tools and resources, and perceived barriers are important factors when examining IPV-related TBI.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was used for data collection. The sample included providers from a variety of domains, including social work, healthcare, legal, and mental health. Three focus groups and two one-on-one interviews with providers were conducted and recorded. Prior to the focus groups and interviews, demographic data were collected via a survey. In the focus groups and interviews, providers were asked a series of open-ended questions and all audio files were transcribed and coded.

Results: Several providers noted that the connection between TBI and IVP is valid and that they are more likely to screen for possible TBI in their clients following their participation in the study. Overall, providers were not aware of screening tools for TBI although some were able to name local facilities and resources. Providers noted that symptoms of TBI overlap significantly with other health conditions, which can make identification difficult. Providers discussed reservations, such as a lack of proper training, knowledge, and skills to accurately identify, diagnose and treat IPV-related TBI.

Conclusion: The literature regarding IPV-related TBI is in its infancy and many aspects of this condition are still poorly understood. The results of our study support the need for an education-based intervention regarding IPV-related TBI, screening tools and available resources. Future research should examine the perceptions of TBI providers on IPV and IPV-related TBI, address the overlap of TBI symptoms with other health conditions, the efficacy of education-based interventions, and mandatory screening to increase the identification rate of IPV-related TBI.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bitzer, Hannah B.hbb11@pitt.eduhbb110000-0002-7232-6056
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorTerry, Martha
Committee MemberPallatino Trevelline,
Committee MemberBurke,
Committee MemberHaggerty,
Committee MemberFeingold,
Date: 2 February 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 December 2020
Approval Date: 2 February 2021
Submission Date: 11 December 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 90
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: intimate partner violence, traumatic brain injury, IPV, TBI, intimate parter violence related traumatic brain injury, IPV-related TBI
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2021 18:37
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2021 18:37


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