Sleep quality and structure in young women with PTSD disorder following sexual assault: Dataset

Published: 22 February 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/wrtd9cy3rw.1


Background: Most PTSD sleep disturbances reports have been conducted in male combat veteran population, usually decades after disorder’s onset. Given the increase in the prevalence of violence against women, and that women are at greater risk for developing PTSD, it is relevant to examine sleep abnormalities in this population. Objectives: To examine clinical characteristics, sleep quality and structure of young women with PTSD following sexual assault compared with a control group at baseline and after one-year of treatment. Methods: Seventy-four women with PTSD following sexual assault and 64 healthy controls with no history of sexual assault were assessed by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), and underwent full in-lab polysomnography (PSG). PTSD participants received pharmacological and/or psychological therapy between baseline and one-year follow up. Results: CAPS-5 mean score in PTSD-group was 42.94±8.90. As expected, the PTSD group had significantly higher scores in the clinical and sleep measurements than the control group. Although PTSD young women reported poorer subjective sleep quality than healthy controls, there were few between-group differences in objective sleep. Analysis of the PTSD-group at baseline and one-year follow-up showed that the PSQI global score was a significant predictor of PTSD improvement. Conclusions: Sleep quality is impaired in young women with PTSD and may impact long term treatment response. Nevertheless, better sleep quality is significantly associated with PTSD improvement, independently of depression and anxiety.


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Participants and Protocol Non-PTSD control group were women who neither had a history of sexual abuse nor psychiatric diagnosis, recruited through advertisements in local newspapers and posters posted in our university and public buildings in the community. Seventy-four sexually assaulted women with PTSD and sixty-four women without PTSD were evaluated. Inclusion criteria: Patients: Women 18 to 45 years of age who had suffered sexual assault in the last 1 to 6 months prior to study enrollment and with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder according to DSM-5 criteria. Healthy Controls: Women 18 to 45 years of age from the community with no PTSD and no history of sexual assault. Exclusion criteria (both groups): Women with menopausal symptomatology or pregnancy, corticosteroid use, HIV+, sexually transmissible diseases, acute or unstable clinical conditions, neurological disorders, lifetime history of bipolar, psychotic, and substance dependence or abuse (not in remission for the last six months). Participants undergoing any psychological/psychiatric treatment or taking psychotropic medication were excluded. All participants underwent a clinical and psychiatric interview to ensure inclusion and exclusion criteria. PTSD participants were randomized to treatment either with sertraline or interpersonal psychotherapy adapted to PTSD (IPT-PTSD). Sertraline Sertraline dosage ranged from 50 to 200 mg/daily, according to each participant’s clinical presentation and tolerance. Two psychiatrists, experienced in treating PTSD patients, followed the patients over the 14-week treatment. Subjects were evaluated at baseline, week 2, week 4, week 8, and week 14. Interpersonal psychotherapy adapted to PTSD (IPT-PTSD) IPT-PTSD was delivered in 14-weekly 50-min sessions with an experienced therapist. Five therapists (psychiatrists) were trained and supervised weekly to use IPT-PTSD.


Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo Departamento de Medicina


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after Sexual Assault, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Quality of Sleep