Abstract

Exposure therapy is theorized to reduce posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology by promoting habituation/extinction of fear responses to trauma-related cues. Empirical evidence indicates that emotional memory, including habituation/extinction learning, is enhanced by sleep. However, service members with combat-related PTSD often report disturbed sleep. In this study, quality of sleep and indicators of extinction learning were examined in veterans of recent wars who had completed an exposure-based PTSD intervention. Fifty-five participants were categorized into two groups based on self-reported quality of sleep: low sleep disruption severity (LSDS; N = 29) and high sleep disruption severity (HSDS; N = 26). Participants in the LSDS group exhibited faster habituation to their traumatic memories and reported less PTSD symptomatology during and following treatment relative to participants in the HSDS group. These findings indicate that individuals with combat-related PTSD reporting less disturbed sleep experience greater extinction learning during exposure therapy. Thus, incorporating interventions that target PTSD-related sleep disturbances may be one way to maximize exposure therapy outcomes in service members with PTSD.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2016

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Beidel, Deborah

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Psychology; Clinical Psychology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0006355

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0006355

Language

English

Release Date

August 2021

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

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