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Intimate partner violence, firearms, and sleep disturbances: The influence of coercive control and partner firearm ownership

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To investigate the role of diverse forms of intimate partner violence (IPV) and firearms in the context of IPV in sleep disturbances.

      Design

      A cross-sectional survey of domestic violence victims.

      Setting

      Six domestic violence shelters (both urban and rural) in the state of Texas.

      Participants

      Two hundred fifteen women recruited from domestic violence shelters.

      Methods

      Seven items pertaining to sleep disturbances during the past 30 days were employed as dependent variables (in addition to a composite index). Measures of non-gun IPV (i.e., coercive control, physical abuse, and sexual abuse) as well as three forms of gun IPV (implicit threats, explicit threats, and gun-related abuse) were constructed. A dichotomous item assessing partner gun ownership was also employed. Ordinary least squares and Logistic regression models adjusting for covariates were estimated.

      Results

      Independent of other forms of abuse, coercive control was associated with the sleep disturbances index and five of the seven individual sleep items. Ancillary analyses revealed that this association was party explained by post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology. Moreover, while gun IPV and sleep disturbances were unrelated, partner gun ownership was associated with five of the seven sleep disturbance items.

      Conclusions

      Coercive control appears to be central to the sleep health of IPV victims, and partner gun ownership may represent an additional risk factor for sleep disturbances beyond experiences of abuse. The consequences of abuse and firearms in the context of intimate partner abuse may extend beyond physical injury to other health outcomes including sleep disturbances.

      Keywords

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