Attentional bias in people with acute versus persistent insomnia secondary to cancer.
Taylor LM., Espie CA., White CA.
This study investigated the role of attentional bias in the development of persistent insomnia. Two groups of people with cancer who developed sleep-onset problems 0-3 months and 12-18 months after diagnosis completed a computerized emotional Stroop task comprising cancer-related and sleep-related word cues and self-complete measures. Both groups demonstrated attentional bias for cancer-related words, but only the persistent insomnia group demonstrated attentional bias for sleep-related words. High levels of presleep cognitive arousal were evident in both groups despite lower levels of psychological distress in the persistent insomnia group. Results suggest that secondary, sleep-related mental preoccupation may inhibit recovery to normal sleep after stress-related acute sleep disturbance. Findings are discussed in relation to current models of insomnia.