Date of Conferral
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a national and global health problem. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization suggest that 1 in 3 women will become a victim of violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. Memory and learning have been shown to be affected in in-vivo animal studies under acute and chronic stress conditions. Using Bertalanffy's general systems theory, this study examined the impact of IPV on short-term memory in adult female survivors by comparing their performance to a control group (adult females with no IPV in the past 5 years) on measures of verbal and nonverbal memory, learning, and working memory. Participants also completed measures of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and were asked about their history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Participants included community members and treatment seeking adult females from a Nevada city. A total of 23 women participated in this study (M = 30 years), of which, 7 were included in the control group (no history of IPV in the past 5 years) and 16 were included in the IPV group (history of IPV within the past 5 years). Using multivariate analysis of variance with depression, PTSD, and mTBI as covariates, no statistically significant differences were found between these 2 groups on all measures. Future studies with high power may yield significant results on measures of learning and should be an area of focus. IPV participants with PTSD tended to perform worse on tests of learning compared to the control group (d = .33; p = .16). Future research in this area is recommended to help improve treatment outcomes for survivors, reduce the stigma associated with IPV, and improve domestic violence laws.