Senior Thesis Form

Title:  Self-Report Quality and Quantity of Sleep Related to Self-Report Memory and Attention
           In Chronic Pain Patients.

Last Name:  Smith

First Name:  Rebecca (rsmith@anselm.edu)

YOG:  1999

Key Words: Sleep, Attention, Memory, Chronic Pain.

Instruments:  Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Stress Symptoms Checklist (SCL-90-R),
                      Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI), Specified Demographic Information.

Abstract:  People Typically spend about 1/4 to 1/3 of their life in states of sleep.  The study of sleep is of great interest to scientists in the psychological and medical community.  Studies have examined, at length, the relationship sleep shares with attention/memory, depression, psychological and psysical illness, as well as alcohol and drugs (prescribed and illicit).  Until recently, studying the relationship between attention/memory and sleep in healthy individuals were of greatest interest.  More current studies are aimed at finding relationships with sleep, depression, pain, and attention/memory in unhealthy individuals suffering from any number of different illnesses.
    This study was conducted within a clinical chronic intractble pain population.  This study attempted to find dignificant relationships between the slef-report of quality and quantity of sleep and self-report of attention/memory levels in a population of chronic pain patients.  Participants included 27 men and women (19 female, 8 male) ranging in agre from 19 to 81 years (Mean Age = 50.1 years).
    This particular study was conducted as part of a larger study addressing neurological, psychological, and physiological effects of chronic intractable pain.  The study hypothesized that the more pain a participant experienced, the more likely they would be to have problems with attention, memory, and sleep.  This was based on numerous current findings that sleep disruption is related to lower attention/memory levels; because chronic pain patients more often than not have great difficulty with sleep, they would, it was believed have greater problems with memory and attention.
    Significant correlations were found between depression, sleep problems, tiredness, attention/memory, and pain in this study.  The most significant of the findings was the relationship between depression and all other variables (tiredness, sleep difficulty, memory/attention, pain.).  The correlations when not significant were in the expected direction, such that increased pain correlated with increased tiredness, increased attention, and increased depression.
    The limitations of the study reside in not only the sample size, but in how the sample was selected.  Advertisements and presentations were conducted, explaining the study.  Participants volunteered for the study in return for a psychological evaluation based on self-report data.  Participants were required to be literate, have transportation to and from the study, and be able to endure about 4 1/2 hours of psychological testing.  Further research in this area is needed for support of the data this study demonstrated.  With the help of future studies, hopefully prevention and effective treatment of chronic intractable pain will be discovered.