Despite extensive evidence of heterogeneity in intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrator profiles, there has been little research into neuropsychological deficits that might help us understand differences within this violent population. Moreover, studies on this topic have not paid much attention to the role of alcohol abuse in neuropsychological domains of IPV perpetrators. Hence, the current study was designed to examine neuropsychological differences among individuals who have committed domestic violence with high (n = 28, HA) and low (n = 35, LA) levels of alcohol consumption, and non-violent individuals (n = 37) to establish differential neuropsychological profiles. An exhaustive neuropsychological assessment battery was employed which combined the computer-based Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery with pencil-and-paper measures. Compared to controls, HA IPV perpetrators had slower processing speed and significantly more impairments in attentional set-shifting or switch attention, working and long-term memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, decision-making, emotion decoding skills, and perspective taking. Furthermore, there were differences between IPV perpetrator subgroups in attentional set-shifting or switch attention and cognitive empathy, with HA IPV perpetrators displaying more severe impairments in both cognitive domains than LA IPV perpetrators. Finally, the LA IPV perpetrators had significantly more impairments in working and long-term memory, executive functioning, and emotion decoding skills than controls, but they did not differ in processing speed, attentional set-shifting or switch attention, decision making, or perspective taking. Thus, the current findings suggest that IPV perpetrators with neuropsychological difficulties, especially those who are heavy drinkers, may have the greatest need for cognitive interventions. These cognitive deficits could be employed as targets for developing specific cognitive rehabilitation programs adjuvant to psychotherapeutic intervention for IPV perpetrators.
Alcohol – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2018
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