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The effect of self-reported REM behavior Disorder Symptomology on Intrusive Memories in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 10:18 authored by Ney, LJ, Chia-Ming HsuChia-Ming Hsu, Emma NicholsonEmma Nicholson, Daniel ZujDaniel Zuj, Louise ClarkLouise Clark, Kleim, B, Felmingham, KL

Background: PTSD is characterised by severe sleep disturbances, which is increasingly recognised to in many cases consist of similar symptomology to sleep disorders such as REM Behaviour Disorder (RBD). The present study aimed to investigate whether different aspects of sleep quality influence intrusive memory development and whether PTSD status moderates this relationship.

Participants and Methods: 34 PTSD, 52 trauma-exposed (TE) and 42 non-trauma exposed (NTE) participants completed an emotional memory task, where they viewed 60 images (20 positive, 20 negative and 20 neutral) and, two days later, reported how many intrusive memories they had of each valence category. Participants also completed three measures of sleep quality: the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the REM Behaviour Disorder Screening Questionnaire and total hours slept before each session.

Results: The PTSD group reported poorer sleep quality than both TE and NTE groups on all three measures, and significantly more negative intrusive memories than the NTE group. Mediation analyses revealed that self-reported RBD symptomology before the second session mediated the relationship between PTSD status and intrusive memories. Follow-up moderation analyses revealed that self-reported RBD symptomology before the second session was only a significant predictor of intrusion in the PTSD group, though with a small effect size.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that RBD symptomology is an indicator of consolidation of intrusive memories in PTSD but not trauma-exposed or healthy participants, which supports the relevance of characterising RBD in PTSD.


Publication title

Behavioral Sleep Medicine








School of Psychological Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

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