Understanding the sleep-aggression relationship in a forensic mental health sample

Greenwood, Leah Charlotte orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6193-0867, Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930, Abbott, Janice orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9851-1236, Chu, Simon orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8921-4942 and Niesten, Isabella (2022) Understanding the sleep-aggression relationship in a forensic mental health sample. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 83 .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2022.101811


The contribution of cognition to the sleep-aggression relationship is explored via three connected studies, involving adult male forensic patients detained in a high secure hospital. Study 1 included 31 patients, interviewed to examine their experiences of specific sleep problems. In Study 2, 42 patients completed a series of measures examining sleep dysfunction, aggression, and cognition, while Study 3 was designed to impact on sleep via a cognitive approach. In the latter, 48 patients were randomly assigned as part of a feasibility trial to one of three conditions: mindfulness (cognitive approach), sleep education, and treatment as usual. Collectively, the studies demonstrated the multifaceted nature of cognition in the sleep-aggression relationship, with a need to account fully for cognitive factors. A preliminary conceptual model is outlined - the Cognitive Sleep Model for Aggression and Self Harm (CoSMASH), as a direction for future research to consider.

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