Improving Sleep to Indirectly Alleviate Trauma Symptomatology: South African Adolescence Sleep Intervention (SAASI) project

Cherie Armour, Margaret McLafferty, Gillian Shorter, Jana Ross, Mark Tully, Jaco Rossouw, Jani Nothling, Soraya Seedat

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: In South Africa (SA) traumatic experiences are highly prevalent in adolescents (Seedat et al., 2004). This can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is highly co-morbid with other psychological disorders and sleep problems. Improving sleep quality however may reduce symptoms of PTSD and other mental health problems (Ohayon & Shapiro, 2000). Objective: To examine the impact of a cost-effective, non-drug intervention, the Transdiagnostic Sleep and Circadian Intervention (TranS-C-Youth; Harvey, 2016), on sleep quality and symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety in adolescents in SA. Method: The pilot study consisted of 40 SA adolescents (aged 15–19) who screened positively for PTSD (20 control, 20 intervention). Participants completed a sleep diary and wore an activity watch. The intervention group also participated in a sleep skills training session; the TranS-CYouth, delivered by trained SA researchers over a sixweek period. Focus groups were also conducted with researchers and participants to examine the feasibility of implementing the TranS-C-Youth. Results: Sleep data and symptoms of PTSD, mood and anxiety disorders will be compared within and between participant groups pre-, during- and post-intervention. We hypothesize improved sleep and reductions in psychological symptoms in the intervention group. We also envisage that focus group feedback will be useful in testing the feasibility of several components of the intervention. Conclusions: The rationale for conducting the pilot study is to assess the feasibility of a fullscale randomized control trial utilizing the TranS-CYouth to help improve sleep quality and reduce symptoms of mental health disorders among SA adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberS3.2
Pages (from-to)23-24
Number of pages2
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue numbersup1
Early online date10 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 14 Jun 2019


  • sleep
  • randomised trial
  • adolescents
  • Pilot study
  • intervention
  • trauma
  • PTSD


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