Date of Conferral







Michael R. Durnam


The bidirectional link between insufficient sleep and the distress related to a parasomnia known as isolated sleep paralysis (ISP) might lead to chronic health effects. The impact of fear-ridden hallucinations related to this REM sleep disorder can be both distressful and embarrassing for individuals often resulting in a reticence to seek help. This quantitative study was guided by a biopsychosocial approach with an integrated theoretical framework. One aim of the study was to determine if fear parameters of ISP (low and high) differ when considering psychosocial factors and sleep quality, based on the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes About Sleep Scale, the Social Phobia Inventory, the Locus of Control (LOC) subscales, and the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Inventory. Predictive associations between psychosocial factors and subjective sleep quality (SSQ) were also investigated. Retrospective online data from a sample of 159 participants ages 18 and over were analyzed via MANOVA, multiple regression, and independent samples t-tests. Findings from the MANOVA were significant and showed that participants who experience ISP with more fear scored higher on two measures, external other LOC and social phobia. The MANOVA regarding differences in SSQ in relation to psychosocial variables were not significant, and independent sample t-tests did not differentiate fear parameters for DBAS and SSQ (poor sleep was found for both parameters). Providers of therapeutic treatments should take factors of social phobia and external other LOC into account with regards to poor sleep quality for those distressed by ISP. Sleep quality assessments might benefit those who are afraid to disclose about ISP sleep distress, as long term poor sleep can place some at risk for negative health outcomes.