Sleep disturbances and nightmares in victims of sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder : an analysis of abuse-related characteristics

Background: Sexual abuse victims often experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including sleep disturbances. 

Objective: To investigate whether or not characteristics of sexual abuse are associated with sleep disturbance, and to explore whether correlates of sleep disturbance are distinguishable from those of PTSD symptom severity. 

Method: Forty-four adult sexual abuse victims seeking treatment for PTSD and sleep disturbances completed validated self-report questionnaires assessing sleep, nightmares, and PTSD symptoms. 

Results: Age at time of sexual abuse contributed to the severity of distress associated with nightmares, whereas the number of perpetrators contributed to the frequency of nightmares. Sleep disturbances had different correlates compared to those of overall PTSD symptoms. 

Conclusions: The present study highlighted that age at time of abuse and number of offenders may account for variability in sleep disturbances. Exploration of characteristics of sexual abuse could help clinicians to quickly identify who could benefit the most from targeting nightmares and other sleep disturbances in treatment.



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Reference: 
Geneviève Belleville, Mylène Dubé-Frenette & Andréanne Rousseau | 2020
In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology : ISSN: 2000-8066 | 10 | 1 | maart | 1581019
https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2019.1581019
Keywords: 
Nightmares, Perpetrators, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (en), Research, Sexual Harassment, Sleep Disorders, Treatment