Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Michael Stutts

Committee Member

Frederick Freeman

Committee Member

Robin Lewis

Committee Member

Barbara Cubic

Committee Member

Lynn Warner


This study examined the effect of physical battering on the neuropsychological functioning of women. Twenty-five battered women and twenty-five non-battered women were administered a neuropsychological screening battery (11 separate tests, yielding 16 variables) to assess for possible deficits in the areas of attention/concentration, memory, visual-perceptual skills, sensory-motor skills, novel problem solving, and verbal fluency. All participants completed a demographic questionnaire, a post-concussive syndrome checklist, and a questionnaire evaluating for the presence of depressed mood and possible effects of depression. Potential participants with a history of previous head injury (occurring from a source other than battering) or other neurological disorders were excluded from the study. Groups were matched for age, level of education, and ethnicity.

A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was employed to test overall group differences considering all 16 neuropsychological variables collectively. The resulting analysis revealed significant group differences F(7,50) = 7.30, p<.0001 (Wilks Lambda =.21). There was a significant difference between groups with regard to depressed mood, t(45) = 4:07, p<.0001, with battered women obtaining higher scores on a depressed mood questionnaire. Therefore, a Multivariate Analysis of Covariance was performed on the 16 neuropsychological dependent variables, controlling for the effect of depressed mood. There was a significant difference between groups on 12 of the 16 variables. When applying clinical criteria, battered women exhibited impairment on a larger number of test than controls, F(1,49) = 72.14, p<.0001. No significant correlation was found between the number of test on which battered women participants were impaired and the number of years in which the relationship was physically abusive, r = -.16. Similarly, the correlation between the number of battering episodes within the past month and number of measures on which a bettered women was impaired was not significant, r =.07. Battered women endorsed a greater number of symptoms on a postconcussive syndrome checklist than did control participants, t(48) = 4.48, p<.0001.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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