Stress reactivity in individuals with Non-REM Parasomnias, insomnia and good sleep

Young, Sarah Elizabeth (2011) Stress reactivity in individuals with Non-REM Parasomnias, insomnia and good sleep. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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To date, there is little research into either stress reactivity or the specificity of psychological characteristics in particular forms of sleep disorder. NREM parasomnias are a relatively un-studied group of sleep disorders. The purpose of this study was to gain greater insight into how people with NREM parasomnias respond to ‘threat’ and to life situations. In particular, the aim was to investigate how their responses to a psychological stressor compared to individuals with insomnia and to good sleepers by measuring autonomic arousal, as well as subjective appraisals of stress. Baseline levels of autonomic arousal were intended to provide insight into daytime arousal levels at the trait level. Participants (N = 38) were recruited from the general population and attended the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre to take part. Autonomic arousal was measured via continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings of heart rate (HR) and cardiac vagal tone (CVT) whilst participants took part in baseline, stressor (a difficult mathematical task) and recovery phases. In general, group differences were not found, however this may be partly due to the small sample size and corresponding lack of power to detect differences. The results indicated that the NREM group reacted to stress in a similar way to good sleepers. In general, it was the insomnia group but not the NREM group whose data differed from good sleepers. However, both the NREM parasomnia and Insomnia groups exhibited a relatively higher (though not statistically significant) resting baseline HR compared to the good sleeper group, suggesting a higher level of underlying sympathetic arousal. The findings of this type of study have potentially important implications for the development of treatment programmes for NREM parasomnias. However, further work needs to be done before any conclusions can be drawn. The study was intended as an exploratory study and the preliminary findings indicate that further exploration is warranted.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: NREM parasomnia, insomnia, sleep disorder, stress reactivity
Subjects: R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Espie, Prof. Colin
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Ms Sarah E Young
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2907
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:01

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