Project Title

Positive Future Time Perspective, PTSD, and Insomnia in Veterans: Do Anger and Shame Keep You Awake?

Authors' Affiliations

Heather R. Altier, B.A., Morgan K. Treaster, B.A., and Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

54

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jameson Hirsch

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Master’s

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

There is heightened risk for physical and mental health concerns among U.S. veterans. For instance, 26% of veterans experience insomnia (i.e., chronic difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep), compared to 15% of the general population. This may be due, in part, to the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with PTSD. Rumination or flashbacks focused on traumatic events (e.g., witnessing death) may contribute to problems with the onset and quality of sleep. However, not all veterans experience insomnia or PTSD symptoms, perhaps due to a positive future orientation (FO). Adaptive, goal-directed thinking may lessen risk for rumination about past actions or experiences (e.g., combat exposure), with consequent beneficial effects on sleep quality. Yet, to the extent that other negative emotions remain in the presence of FO, potential benefits may be thwarted. Specifically, feelings of shame (i.e., judging self as intolerable or defective) or anger may arise from discrepancies between military actions taken or witnessed and one’s moral beliefs. In turn, this may limit future-oriented coping abilities, with negative implications for PTSD symptoms and insomnia.

At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that PTSD symptoms, insomnia, shame, and anger would be positively related, and that these variables would be negatively related to FO. At the multivariate level, we hypothesized that PTSD symptoms would mediate the relation between FO and insomnia, such that greater FO would be associated with fewer PTSD symptoms and, in turn, to fewer insomnia symptoms. Further, we hypothesized that shame and anger would moderate these linkages, reducing beneficial effects and exacerbating risk.

Our sample of U.S. veterans (n=551) was recruited online from national organizations and social media groups and was primarily white (n=469; 85.1%) and male (n=382; 69.3%). Participants completed self-report measures, including the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory - Brief (future subscale), PTSD Checklist - Military Version, Insomnia Severity Index, and Differential Emotions Scale (shame and anger subscales). Bivariate correlations and moderated-mediation analyses, per Hayes (2013), were conducted, covarying age, sex, and ethnicity.

In bivariate analyses, all variables were significantly related in hypothesized directions (p<.01). In mediation analyses, the total effect of FO on insomnia was significant (t=-5.336, p<.001), and the direct effect was nonsignificant when PTSD was added (t=-1.840, p=.07), indicating mediation. In moderated-mediation analyses, the PTSD-insomnia linkage was strengthened by shame (b2=-.011, t=-2.451, p=.015, CI=[-.019, -.002])and anger (b2=-.012,t=-3.1, p=.002, CI=[-.020, -.005]), in separate models.

In our veteran sample, to the extent one is future-oriented, PTSD symptoms may be ameliorated, with consequent beneficial impact on sleep quantity and quality. Yet, shame and anger may exacerbate the linkage between PTSD symptoms and insomnia, suggesting that therapeutic interventions to reduce shame (e.g., Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and anger (e.g., cognitive reframing) may promote better sleep. Clinical strategies to promote positive future-oriented thinking (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy) may also help to alleviate PTSD symptoms and associated insomnia within the veteran population.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Positive Future Time Perspective, PTSD, and Insomnia in Veterans: Do Anger and Shame Keep You Awake?

Ballroom

There is heightened risk for physical and mental health concerns among U.S. veterans. For instance, 26% of veterans experience insomnia (i.e., chronic difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep), compared to 15% of the general population. This may be due, in part, to the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with PTSD. Rumination or flashbacks focused on traumatic events (e.g., witnessing death) may contribute to problems with the onset and quality of sleep. However, not all veterans experience insomnia or PTSD symptoms, perhaps due to a positive future orientation (FO). Adaptive, goal-directed thinking may lessen risk for rumination about past actions or experiences (e.g., combat exposure), with consequent beneficial effects on sleep quality. Yet, to the extent that other negative emotions remain in the presence of FO, potential benefits may be thwarted. Specifically, feelings of shame (i.e., judging self as intolerable or defective) or anger may arise from discrepancies between military actions taken or witnessed and one’s moral beliefs. In turn, this may limit future-oriented coping abilities, with negative implications for PTSD symptoms and insomnia.

At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that PTSD symptoms, insomnia, shame, and anger would be positively related, and that these variables would be negatively related to FO. At the multivariate level, we hypothesized that PTSD symptoms would mediate the relation between FO and insomnia, such that greater FO would be associated with fewer PTSD symptoms and, in turn, to fewer insomnia symptoms. Further, we hypothesized that shame and anger would moderate these linkages, reducing beneficial effects and exacerbating risk.

Our sample of U.S. veterans (n=551) was recruited online from national organizations and social media groups and was primarily white (n=469; 85.1%) and male (n=382; 69.3%). Participants completed self-report measures, including the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory - Brief (future subscale), PTSD Checklist - Military Version, Insomnia Severity Index, and Differential Emotions Scale (shame and anger subscales). Bivariate correlations and moderated-mediation analyses, per Hayes (2013), were conducted, covarying age, sex, and ethnicity.

In bivariate analyses, all variables were significantly related in hypothesized directions (p<.01). In mediation analyses, the total effect of FO on insomnia was significant (t=-5.336, p<.001), and the direct effect was nonsignificant when PTSD was added (t=-1.840, p=.07), indicating mediation. In moderated-mediation analyses, the PTSD-insomnia linkage was strengthened by shame (b2=-.011, t=-2.451, p=.015, CI=[-.019, -.002])and anger (b2=-.012,t=-3.1, p=.002, CI=[-.020, -.005]), in separate models.

In our veteran sample, to the extent one is future-oriented, PTSD symptoms may be ameliorated, with consequent beneficial impact on sleep quantity and quality. Yet, shame and anger may exacerbate the linkage between PTSD symptoms and insomnia, suggesting that therapeutic interventions to reduce shame (e.g., Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and anger (e.g., cognitive reframing) may promote better sleep. Clinical strategies to promote positive future-oriented thinking (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy) may also help to alleviate PTSD symptoms and associated insomnia within the veteran population.