Clinician and patient barriers to the recognition of insomnia in family practice: A narrative summary of reported literature analysed using the theoretical domains framework

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Background: Insomnia is a common sleep complaint, with 10% of adults in the general population experiencing insomnia disorder, defined as lasting longer than three months in DSM-5. Up to 50% of patients attending family practice experience insomnia, however despite this, symptoms of insomnia are not often screened for, or discussed within this setting. We aimed to examine barriers to the assessment and diagnosis of insomnia in family practice from both the clinician and patient perspective. Methods: The present article identified research that has examined barriers to assessing insomnia from the clinician's and the client's perspectives following MEDLINE and Google Scholar searches, and then classified these barriers using the theoretical domains framework. Results: The most common barriers from the clinician's perspective were related to Knowledge, Skills, and the Environmental Context. From the patient perspective, barriers identified included their Beliefs about the consequences of Insomnia, Social Influences, and Behavioural Regulation of Symptoms. Conclusions: Utilising this theoretical framework, we discuss options for bridging the gap between the identification and subsequent management of insomnia within the family practice setting. To assist clinicians and those in community health care to overcome the Knowledge and Skills barriers identified, this article provides existing relevant clinical criteria that can be utilised to make a valid diagnosis of insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2020


  • Clinician-factors
  • Family practice
  • Insomnia
  • Patient-factors
  • Theoretical domains framework

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