Module 9: Traumatic Brain Injury Among Survivors of IPV (and Mental Health and Substance Use)


The purpose of this module is to draw attention to the issue of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Although IPV is a significant cause of injury in female populations—particularly to the head, neck, and face areas—TBI remains an under-acknowledged issue. This module provides a basic overview of TBI and its connection to IPV. It also details the intersection of IPV, TBI, mental health and substance use; the prevalence of TBI in female survivors of IPV; the signs and symptoms of TBI; and the reasons why TBI is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed in survivors of IPV. The module lecture is concluded by discussing the importance of cultural considerations when working with survivors experiencing IPV-related TBI, as well as information on accessing various supports and services.

Learning Objectives (i.e., after this module, you should be able to):

  1. Explain what a traumatic brain injury is
  2. Develop a beginning understanding of the connection between IPV and TBI
  3. Describe the intersection between IPV, TBI, mental health, and substance use
  4. Appreciate the ways that TBI can be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed
  5. Describe the signs and symptoms of TBI in survivors of IPV (for both mild and moderate to severe cases)
  6. Be mindful of cultural considerations when working with survivors impacted by IPV-related TBI
  7. Know how to access resources for survivors with IPV-related TBI

Guide to Readings

The readings for this module introduce the issue of TBI, and its connection to IPV, mental health, and substance use. The first reading, by Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, provides basic information on TBI, including the causes of TBI and methods for measuring the severity of these injuries. The second reading, by Brown and colleagues, is an introduction to IPV and TBI for professionals, and details the connection between the two issues. Lastly, the reading by Toronto ABI Network provides a brief overview of brain injury, mental health, and substance use, in particular.

How to Proceed

Once you complete all 6 steps, proceed to Module 10.