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CNS Spectr. 2001 Sep;6(9):787-92.

Cognitive difficulties and posttraumatic stress disorder in female victims of intimate partner violence.

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  • 1Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA.


Subjective cognitive complaints of women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) and nonabused women were examined using the Cognitive Difficulties Scale (CDS). Cognitive complaints were compared among victims of IPV with a lifetime diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PTSD+; n=20), victims of IPV without lifetime PTSD (PTSD-; n=21), and a nonabused comparison group (n=22). The results indicated that both the PTSD+ and PTSD- groups had significantly higher levels of self-perceived cognitive difficulties than nonabused women. Furthermore, PTSD symptom severity was found to be positively correlated with self-perceived cognitive difficulties (r=.47). Further research is needed to determine whether cognitive complaints are associated with exposure to IPV, with the subsequent development of PTSD, or with other not yet understood factors. Furthermore, additional work is needed to resolve whether cognitive complaints are accompanied by objective evidence of cognitive dysfunction in victims of IPV.

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