The relationship between sexual assault and sleep problems

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Kennedy, Gerard, Johnston, Amy, Astbury, Jill and Bruck, Dorothy (2007) The relationship between sexual assault and sleep problems. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 5 (1). A165-A165. ISSN 1446-9235


This study investigated relationships between subjective sleep complaints and several forms of abuse among a representative sample of young women (N = 14947) who completed the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health, Third Survey for Young Women (2003). The primary hypothesis to be investigated was that a history of abuse in the 3 years prior to data collection would be related to sleep disturbances at a greater prevalence than among women with no history of abuse. Relative risk analyses were conducted by creating dichotomous variables from all sleep and abuse variables, in order to determine the risk of experiencing sleep problems among women who reported different combinations of abuse occurring in the 3 years prior to data collection. The results of relative risk analyses showed that women who had experienced any kind of abuse (sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, harassment, severe physical violence or any combination of these) were at greater risk of experiencing a number of sleep disturbances. In particular, the risk of using prescription medication for sleep in the past month was greatly increased among women reporting sexual abuse in isolation (RR = 9.98, CI = 7.18–13.86) and among women reporting all five forms of abuse (RR = 4.52, CI = 3.19–6.42) when compared with women who reported no abuse in the last 3 years. Overall, the results demonstrated that women with a history of abuse were at greater risk of experiencing sleep disturbances than women who reported no abuse.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00300.x
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > RFCD Classification > 380000 Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
Historical > SEO Classification > 9299 Other Health
Keywords ResPubID13297; young women, sleep disturbances, sexual assault, womenn health
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