The role of sleep quality on the relationship between posttraumatic stress symptoms and pain in women

Rachel Aaron, Melanie Noel, Joanne Dudeney, Anna Wilson, Amy Holley, Tonya Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Pain frequently co-occurs with elevated posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS); women are at elevated risk for their co-occurrence. PTSS and pain are associated with poor sleep quality; yet, little research has examined how sleep impacts their co-occurrence. The current study examines the indirect role of sleep on the relationship between PTSS and pain. A community sample of 182 women completed psychometrically-sound questionnaires assessing PTSS, sleep quality, pain characteristics, depression and anxiety symptoms, and anxiety sensitivity. We examined how sleep quality impacted associations among PTSS and pain intensity and pain interference, while controlling for key psychological factors. Greater PTSS was associated with worse pain interference, and poor sleep quality had a significant indirect effect on this relationship. Sleep may represent a modifiable behavioral mechanism that contributes to the mutual maintenance of PTSS and pain in women. Future research is needed to further clarify the role of sleep quality in their co-occurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-933
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic pain
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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