Posttraumatic Symptoms and Poor Sleep Are Independent Pathways to Agency Disruptions and Dissociation: A Longitudinal Study With Objective Sleep Assessment

Noa Bregman-Hai, Nirit Soffer-Dudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dissociation and diminished sense of agency are experiential distortions of disintegration in the perception of self and action. Although one is often implied in the other, they are seldom studied together. Assessing their relationship and shared influences may allow for a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of dissociative experiences. We aimed to examine their temporal (concurrent or directional) co-occurrence, and to elucidate their etiology, focusing on posttraumatic symptoms (PTS), poor sleep, and their hypothesized joint effect. N = 113 adults oversampled for the existence of trauma exposure history reported PTS and then, for a week, wore an actigraphic sleep monitor, reported subjective sleep quality each morning, and reported state dissociation (depersonalization, derealization, and absorption) and sense of agency four times each day.
Data were analyzed using multilevel linear modeling. Higher state dissociation correlated with diminished state sense of agency, but only contemporaneously, not directionally. Both hypothesized etiological factors, namely, PTS (especially complex) and poor sleep (objective and subjective) predicted state dissociation and diminished state sense of agency, but psychological distress seemed to overshadow these main effects.
However, robust interactive effects suggested that poor sleep predicted dissociation and disruptions in the
sense of agency only among individuals with low PTS. These findings suggest that PTS and poor sleep quality are separate paths to dissociation and impaired sense of agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-207
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Complex trauma
  • Dissociation
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sense of agency
  • Sleep quality

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