Insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and danger: Their impact on victims’ return to court for orders of protection.

Mazzotta, C.M., Crean, H.F., Pigeon, W.R., & Cerulli, C. (2018)
Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1 – 21
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This study explored associations between insomnia, PTSD symptoms, danger, and victim socio-demographics, and whether victims pursue permanent protective orders. 


It is well documented that IPV victims suffer a vast array of physical and mental health problems. The linkages between intimate partner violence (IPV), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and insomnia have been the subject of inquiry. This study is the first to explore the associations between clinical-level insomnia, PTSD symptoms, danger, and victim socio-demographics, and whether IPV victims pursue permanent orders of protection (OPs). Data for this secondary analysis were collected through surveys, interviews, and reviews of court records on 112 women who resided in upstate New York. Women initiated actions to obtain OPs from the Domestic Violence Intensive Intervention Court (DVIIC), from 2007 to 2008. The following factors were analyzed to determine their impact on whether a woman returned to court: (a) age, (b) race, (c) employment status, (d) perceived danger, (e) PTSD symptoms, and (f) clinical-level insomnia. 

This study found a positive association between a victim’s perceived level of danger and clinical-level insomnia. One of this study’s most compelling findings is that 75% of the participants who received a temporary protective order returned to court to pursue a permanent one. Although many of the women in this study were burdened by danger, clinical insomnia, and PTSD symptoms and had multiple scheduled return-to-court dates, their return-to-court rate exceeded the less than 50% return-to-court rate found in previous studies.  Contrary to the common perception that victims of IPV do not take steps to alter their situation, this finding suggests that they act and strive to do so despite multiple challenges. The results of this study revealed the perseverance of IPV victims.



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