Sleep Paralysis Among Egyptian College Students: Association With Anxiety Symptoms (PTSD, Trait Anxiety, Pathological Worry)

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Abstract

Among Egyptian college students in Cairo (n = 100), this study examined the relationship between sleep paralysis (SP) and anxiety symptoms, viz., posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trait anxiety, and pathological worry. SP rates were high; 43% of participants reported at least one lifetime episode of SP, and 24% of those who reported at least one lifetime episode had experienced four or more episodes during the previous year. Fourteen percent of men had experienced SP as compared to 86% of women. As hypothesized, relative to non-SP experiencers, participants who had SP reported higher symptoms of PTSD, trait anxiety, and pathological worry. Also, as hypothesized, the experiencing of hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucinations during SP, even after controlling for negative affect, was highly correlated with symptoms of PTSD and trait anxiety. The study also investigated possible mechanisms by examining the relationship of hallucinations to anxiety variables.

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