Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Matthew Feldner

Committee Member

Ellen Leen-Feldner

Second Committee Member

Lindsay Ham-Holm


Disgust, Emotion regulation, Intrusive Memories, PTSD, sleep deprivation, Trauma-film paradigm


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by four symptom clusters. Recently, research highlights the need to focus on the impact of intrusive symptoms as a possible risk factor for the development and maintenance of PTSD. Cognitive and sleep models contribute to further understanding of intrusive symptoms. Recent work also highlights disgust as an emotion closely associated with the emergence of posttraumatic stress symptomology following traumatic events. This study used a film eliciting disgust in order to examine the effects of sleep on the intensity of intrusion symptoms and emotion reactivity. The sample consisted of 49 college students randomly assigned to either sleep or sleep deprivation conditions. It was hypothesized that, relative to a control group, participants randomly assigned to a night of sleep deprivation would evidence increased intrusion symptoms and emotional reactivity. Findings were partially consistent with hypotheses. There were no group or interaction effects on intrusive symptoms or self-reported arousal, although participants across both groups reported significant decreases in negative valence, arousal, and intrusion symptoms across the study. There also was a significant interaction effect between sleep group and self-reported negative valence, specifically, individuals in the acute sleep deprivation group reported higher negative valence compared to the sleep as usual group. Methodological considerations are addressed as potential explanations for the observed findings, and specific suggestions for conducting future work in this important area are provided.