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Sleep Disturbance and PTSD Symptoms in Psychiatric Inpatients: the Role of Mindfulness Facets

  • Lia J. Smith
  • Antoine Lebeaut
  • Anka A. VujanovicEmail author



Trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are significant concerns across psychiatric inpatient populations. Sleep disturbance is implicated in the etiology and maintenance of PTSD. Mindfulness facets, including observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience, may have clinical relevance to sleep disturbance and PTSD. No studies to date have examined associations among sleep disturbance, mindfulness facets, and PTSD symptom severity among psychiatric inpatients. Based upon the extant literature, greater sleep disturbance and lower acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience were expected to be associated with greater PTSD severity; sleep disturbance was expected to exert an indirect effect on PTSD severity through acting with awareness, non-reactivity to inner experience, and non-judging of inner experience. Covariates included trauma load and number of psychiatric diagnoses.


Participants included 115 trauma-exposed psychiatric inpatients (40.0% female; Mage = 33.2, SD = 10.9).

During an acute-care psychiatric inpatient hospitalization, participants were administered the Mini Mental Status Examination and completed a self-report packet, which included questionnaires used in the current investigation.


Greater sleep disturbance and lower describing, acting with awareness, and non-judging of inner experience facets of mindfulness were each significantly associated with greater PTSD total symptom severity. Through non-judging of inner experience, sleep disturbance exerted an indirect effect on PTSD total symptom severity and the severity of PTSD symptom clusters, including intrusion, avoidance, negative cognitions and mood, and arousal and reactivity symptoms.


Future research and clinical work may target the mindfulness facet of non-judging of inner experience in order to reduce the association between sleep disturbance and PTSD symptomatology among psychiatric inpatients.


Trauma Posttraumatic stress Mindfulness Acceptance Sleep Inpatient 


Author Contributions

LJS conducted data analyses and co-wrote the paper (with AAV). AL wrote the “Methods” section and created the tables and figure. AAV designed the study, supervised the data analyses, and co-wrote the paper.

Funding Information

This study was funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health (PI: Vujanovic: JRG-263).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the University of Houston Institutional Review Board and by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, where the study was conducted. All study participants provided written and verbal informed consent prior to enrolling in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lia J. Smith
    • 1
  • Antoine Lebeaut
    • 1
  • Anka A. Vujanovic
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Trauma and Stress Studies Center, Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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