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Rebecca Cox, MA
Department of Psychology (Olatunji Lab)
"Sleep in the anxiety-related disorders: A meta-analysis of subjective and objective research"
Anxiety-related disorders are prevalent, highly debilitating disorders characterized by fear, distress, and avoidance. Although extant research has identified cognitive and behavioral mechanisms of anxiety-related disorders, less is known about biopsychological processes that may contribute to these disorders. One such process that requires delineation in the context of anxiety-related disorders is sleep. Sleep disturbance is implicated in physiological, cognitive, and affective dysregulation and is also linked to psychopathology. However, the role of sleep in anxiety-related disorders remains unclear. The present investigation uses a meta-analytic procedure to characterize sleep disturbance in anxiety-related disorders as a whole, as well as in individual disorders. Results indicate a large effect for increased subjective sleep disturbance, medium effects for decreased total sleep time and sleep continuity, and a small effect for decreased sleep depth in anxiety-related disorders compared to healthy controls. Across the individual anxiety-related disorders, each disorder exhibited a distinct pattern of sleep disturbance. These effects were not moderated by comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) and were similar in magnitude to those found for MDD. These findings highlight the importance of additional research examining the potential mechanistic role of sleep disturbance in anxiety-related disorders. Implications for etiological models and treatment of anxiety-related disorders are discussed.