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    Investigating sleep disturbance, dissociation, and anxiety differences due to betrayal trauma experienced

    Carter, Emma and Brooks, Matthew ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5469-7769 (2023) Investigating sleep disturbance, dissociation, and anxiety differences due to betrayal trauma experienced. Journal of Loss and Trauma. ISSN 1532-5024

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    Abstract

    Betrayal trauma theory suggests betrayal from a trusted person affects how an event is remembered and processed. Few studies have looked at differences in psychological symptoms due to the severity and timing of betrayal trauma (BT). This study examined whether psychological symptoms, specifically, sleep disturbance, dissociation, and anxiety, differ depending on the severity and timing of BT. Participants (N = 270; 67.8% female) with at least one trauma completed online questionnaires measuring BT severity (low-medium, high), timing (childhood trauma, adulthood trauma), and frequency of psychological symptoms. A two-way between-subjects multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted. BT was prevalent in the sample, with 202 participants (74.8%) reporting a history of high BT. The MANOVA revealed a significant interaction between BT severity and BT timing on all outcome variables [p = .007, η2p = .05]. Childhood BT participants with low-medium BT history had significantly greater sleep disturbance [p = .008, η2p = .03], than participants with adulthood BT participants with low-medium BT history. Furthermore, adulthood BT participants with a history of high BT had significantly more dissociation [p = .003, η2p = .01] and anxiety [p < .001, η2p = .04] symptoms than childhood BT participants with a history of high BT. The research provides a novel insight into how different psychological symptoms manifest according to BT severity and timing, and the possibility of “rotating betrayal blindness” in which trauma awareness shifts in varying contexts.

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