Disturbed sleep connects symptoms of PTSD and somatisation: a network analysis approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


PTSD and physical health problems, in particular somatic symptom disorder, are highly comorbid. Studies have only examined this co-occurence at the disorder level, rather than assessing the associations between specific symptoms. Using network analysis to identify symptoms that act as bridges between these disorders may allow us to develop interventions to specifically target this comorbidity. We examined the association between somatisation and PTSD symptoms via network analysis. This included 349 trauma-exposed individuals recruited via the National Centre for Mental Health PTSD cohort who completed the CAPS-5 and PHQ-15. A total of 215 (61.6%) individuals met DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Exploratory Graph Analysis identified four clusters of densely connected symptoms within the overall network - PTSD, chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues and more general somatic complaints. Sleep difficulties played a key role in bridging PTSD and somatic symptoms. Our network analysis demonstrates the distinct nature of PTSD and somatisation symptoms, with this relationship connected by disturbed sleep.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Oct 2020

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