A global collaboration to study intimate partner violence-related head trauma: The ENIGMA consortium IPV working group

Brain Imaging Behav. 2021 Apr;15(2):475-503. doi: 10.1007/s11682-020-00417-0. Epub 2021 Jan 6.


Intimate partner violence includes psychological aggression, physical violence, sexual violence, and stalking from a current or former intimate partner. Past research suggests that exposure to intimate partner violence can impact cognitive and psychological functioning, as well as neurological outcomes. These seem to be compounded in those who suffer a brain injury as a result of trauma to the head, neck or body due to physical and/or sexual violence. However, our understanding of the neurobehavioral and neurobiological effects of head trauma in this population is limited due to factors including difficulty in accessing/recruiting participants, heterogeneity of samples, and premorbid and comorbid factors that impact outcomes. Thus, the goal of the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium Intimate Partner Violence Working Group is to develop a global collaboration that includes researchers, clinicians, and other key community stakeholders. Participation in the working group can include collecting harmonized data, providing data for meta- and mega-analysis across sites, or stakeholder insight on key clinical research questions, promoting safety, participant recruitment and referral to support services. Further, to facilitate the mega-analysis of data across sites within the working group, we provide suggestions for behavioral surveys, cognitive tests, neuroimaging parameters, and genetics that could be used by investigators in the early stages of study design. We anticipate that the harmonization of measures across sites within the working group prior to data collection could increase the statistical power in characterizing how intimate partner violence-related head trauma impacts long-term physical, cognitive, and psychological health.

Keywords: Brain injury; Intimate partner violence; Neuroimaging; Neuropsychological function; Psychosocial function.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Craniocerebral Trauma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Craniocerebral Trauma* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging