Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca

Second Advisor

Fox, Robert

Third Advisor

Kipfmueller, Mark


The impact of violent crimes on the individual victims, families of victims, society and our culture as a whole is significant Over the past 20 years, domestic violence crimes have begun to be researched, documented and presented as the violent crimes that they are, impacting on the lives of countless women and children, and impacting on the social fabric of families and the general culture in our society. Prior to the 1970's, domestic violence crimes primarily occurred within the privacy of the family, with shame ensuring the secrecy of victims, thus perpetuating the pain and destruction for all family members involved. With the recent increase in research and resultant support services, victims of domestic violence have learned that they do not have to suffer in the secrecy of shame, and their silence is no longer assured within the family unit While this level of growth in understanding and support resources has certainly led to freedom and improved quality of life for many women and children, research on domestic violence crimes has continued to focus on the pathology of the battered woman as an explanation for the occurrence, and particularly the re--0ccurrence, of battering crimes. Cognitive, affective and behavioral symptoms of battered women have been assessed and treated in light of psychological diagnoses such as battered women's syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder, with appropriate referrals for psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic support services being the recommended treatment to assist women in breaking the cycle of violence they experience in their lives. This study sought to expand the realm of assessment, diagnostic and treatment possibilities currently under consideration for battered women by focussing attention on the actual physical consequences of battering assaults to the head, neck and face of the victim and to the resultant cognitive, affective and behavioral sequelae victims of such blows to the head frequently experience when diagnosed with mild brain injuries and post-concussion syndrome. While acknowledging the tremendous impact violent crimes have on the psychological health of victims, this exploratory study sought to consider alternative explanations for the ongoing difficulties battered women may experience secondary to battering, and to further explore more effective intervention strategies to complement traditional psychotherapeutic approaches.



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