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Current Studies

Traumatic Brain Injury and Violence: Reducing the risks, improving the outcomes (CIHR Strategic Teams in Applied Injury Research)


Patients suffer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) at seven times the rate of breast cancer and 30 times the rate of HIV/AIDS each year. TBI is responsible for more trauma deaths than injury to any other region of the body, accounting for 50% or more of all trauma deaths in Canada. For severe TBI, immediate medical costs are more than $400,000 at the time of injury. Added post-treatment costs can amount to more than $60,000 each year, with indirect costs 10 times higher. In industrialized countries like Canada and the USA, it is estimated that 2% of the population live with lifelong disabilities resulting from TBI and roughly one in four adults with TBI are unable to return to work one year after injury because of physical or mental disabilities.

In addition to the substantial financial costs of TBI, adverse long-term behavioural and personality changes resulting from TBI may predispose individuals to violent behaviour. Of the more than 100,000 people in Canada admitted to hospital with mild to moderate closed head injury, 85% will have injuries to the frontal or temporal lobes. People with TBI, especially those with frontal brain dysfunction, often develop traits such as disinhibition and impulsivity, display aggressive behaviour and engage in violent acts.

While it is unknown how much violent behaviour is directly linked to TBI, it's possible that a substantial proportion may be linked and, in turn, a substantial proportion of these violent acts result in TBI among victims, thus perpetuating the cycle.

Studies have shown that individuals with disabilities are at a greater risk of violence, abuse, and neglect but very little research has focused specifically on persons with TBI.


This research program is intended to improve our understanding of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its link to violence. It is our hypothesis that vulnerable populations carry the mutual burdens of violence and TBI for which there are shared, modifiable risk factors. The research program will examine the social causes and social, cognitive and behavioural effects of TBI and the reciprocal links between TBI and violence.


  1. TBI and Vulnerable People

    This section aims to identify the links between TBI and violence in various vulnerable populations.

  2. Culture and TBI

    The objective of this section is to examine aggression and TBI in sports and assess the influence of culture in promoting violent behaviour.

  3. TBI and Society

    The series of studies that form part of this subgroup will investigate community and societal level impacts of TBI and violence in Canada.

  4. Knowledge Translation

    The objective of this group of projects is to raise awareness of the risk factors for TBI and violence in vulnerable populations, as well as to develop a variety of interventions in order to influence policy and educate the public.


Click on the following links for a PDF with information about current student opportunities.