Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Abeare, Chris


Cognitive-Affective Processing, Cognitive Processing, Depression, Emotional Processing, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleep



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


OBJECTIVES : Extant experimental research implicates sleep disturbance as causal to dysregulation of emotional processes and neurocognitive functioning. Clinical research with psychiatric samples suggests that sleep disturbance may be an etiological or sustaining factor in certain conditions, rather than solely a symptom. Recently proposed models have hypothesized cognitive-affective processing (CAP) as a potential mediator for the relationship between sleep disturbance and depressed mood. This study investigated relevant neuropsychological and sleep-physiological variables to explore the applicability of this type of model within a sleep apnea referral sample. METHODS: 61 participants referred for polysomnogram also completed self-report measures of mood and sleep, as well as a neuropsychological battery consisting of standard neurocognitive measures and novel cognitive-affective processing counterpart measures. RESULTS: Correlational and ANCOVA analyses suggested cognitive-affective processing measures were potentialy more sensitive toward dysfunction secondary to sleep-disordered breathing than standard neurocognitive measures. Regression analyses were mixed, while most of the a priori model was confirmed, unexpected null findings between sleep physiology and depression suggested poor fit for this sample. Exploratory analyses suggest there may be a more complex model relating the three constructs of interest, incorporating related sleep physiology and affective state constructs. CONCLUSIONS: Within our sample, findings suggest dysfunctional sleep-breathing physiology impacts the affective valence of previously identified subcortical-frontal retrieval dysfunction. The relative absence of findings within standard measures suggests that cognitive-affective processing measures may be more sensitive to finer gradients of sleep disturbance severity. Additionally, this finding is independent of the incidental findings that the cognitive-affective processing is sensitive to negative mood and psychological distress about lack of sleep, suggesting the neurocognitive measure is sensitive to both physiological and psychological sequelae. This study provides initial support for a neuropsychological measure of how humans process emotionally-laden information, which has significant potential for use in research and clinical fields. Future research will generate normative data for the novel cognitive-affective processing measures, as well as explore the original and expanded model of negative mood within other psychiatric and neurological samples.