Sleep Patterns of Sheltered Battered Women


Dr. Humphreys, Department of Family Health Care Nursing, Box 0606, UCSF, San Francisco, CA94143-0606. E-mail:



To describe sheltered battered women's sleep patterns and resulting daytime fatigue. The model for symptom management framed this study to describe one component of the model—symptom experience. Beginning evidence suggests that sheltered battered women experience disturbed sleep and fatigue that can interfere with vital activities.


Descriptive using a convenience sample of 50 ethnically diverse women residing at least 21 days in battered women's shelters located in one western U.S. city. The study was done in 1997.


The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Mini Motionlogger Actigraph, a sleep diary, the Visual Analogue Scale for Fatigue, and an open-ended interview were used to collect data. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data were analyzed to determine patterns and themes.


Seventy percent of the women had global PSQI scores of greater than five indicating poor sleep and 17 (34%) had a sleep efficiency index of 80% or less. Fourteen (28%) of the women went to bed very fatigued (>66 mm) and 20 (40%) woke up very fatigued (>33mm).


The majority of sheltered battered women experienced disturbed sleep and daytime fatigue. Both personal and environmental variables were found to significantly affect sleep patterns. Sheltered battered women can benefit from information about sleep disturbances and sleep enhancing self-care strategies.