HEAD INJURY AND BATTERED WOMEN: An Initial Inquiry

By Monahan, Kathleen; O'Leary, K. Dan | Health and Social Work, November 1999 | Go to article overview

HEAD INJURY AND BATTERED WOMEN: An Initial Inquiry


Monahan, Kathleen, O'Leary, K. Dan, Health and Social Work


Approximately 2 to 3 million women are battered by their intimate partners each year. Severe injuries requiring emergency medical treatment of battered women have been noted, yet the prevalence of head injuries and the negative consequences emanating from such injuries have been noticeably absent from the literature. The descriptive study discussed in this article examined the case records of residents in a domestic violence shelter over a three-month period and found a 35 percent prevalence rate of battered women who had experienced head injury during a battering incident with their intimate partner. This study calls attention to the long-range difficulties that head-injured battered women may experience as a result of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral difficulties resulting from domestic violence and how social workers can intervene with this population.

Researchers have suggested that from 1.8 million to 3 or 4 million women in the United States are assaulted by their partner every year (Stark et al., 1981; Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980; Sugg & Inui, 1992). Straus et al. (1980) indicated that violence will occur at least once during the litetime of approximately halt of all married women.

Spouse abuse has been cited as the leading cause of severe physical damage to women (Browne, 1987; Rosenbaum, 1991; Stark & Flitcraft, 1988). Injuries such as burns, stab wounds, broken limbs, and bruises frequently are cited as requiring emergency surgery and hospitalization (Browne, 1987). McLeer and Anwar (1989) indicated a 30 percent prevalence rate of injuries for women in emergency departments when a thorough trauma history was obtained. Despite this fact, physicians historically have been reluctant to diagnose abuse (Mehta & Dandrea, 1988; Rounsaville & Weissman, 1977-78; Sugg & Inui, 1992). Battered women rarely report abuse without being asked and instead describe vague, psychosomatic complaints rather than the actual physical violence (Blair, 1986).

BATTERED WOMEN AND HEAD TRAUMA

Women who enter domestic violence shelters frequently report that they have received numerous blows to the head, have been unconscious for unknown periods of time, and have been in comas as a result of head trauma. Although several authors (Jezierski, 1994; Murphy, 1993; Tilden, 1989) mention head trauma as a serious outcome of physical abuse by a male partner, the scope and residual effects of this particular type of battering have yet to be studied. In addition, emergency departments may be attuned to the high-risk behaviors (fighting, motorcycle accidents) of men between the ages of 18 and 30, that result in head injury (Marshall et al., 1991) and therefore, not expect to see this kind of injury in women.

Women from a nonbattered population who experienced head trauma identified loss of employment and autonomy as areas of concern along with mood disorders, particularly depression (Willer, Allen, Liss, & Zicht, 1991). In a case study of four women with traumatic brain injury (TBI), researchers identified psychosocial difficulty and personality changes as problematic areas (Stratton & Gregory, 1995).

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Although issues relevant to battered women have been studied extensively by social workers, (Abel & Suh, 1987; Aguirre, 1985; Burg, 1994; Davis, 1984, 1987; Davis, Hagen, & Early, 1994; Harris, Mowbray, & Solarz, 1994; McNeely & Robinson-Simpson, 1987) difficulties with health, particularly that of head trauma, have received little attention. Women who have incurred head trauma may be severely impaired in terms of entering the workforce as well as caring for themselves and their children, yet the vast majority of head injury literature remains focused on the difficulties of men with head injuries and subsequent family disruption and adaptation (Acorn, 1995; Acorn & Roberts, 1992; Resnick, 1994). Furthermore, domestic violence shelters, which historically have provided safe havens to battered women (Newman, 1993), may not be well-versed in dealing with these consequences and subsequently, appropriate referral may be compromised. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

HEAD INJURY AND BATTERED WOMEN: An Initial Inquiry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.