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Transcult Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;42(1):123-34.

Sleep paralysis in African Americans with panic disorder.

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  • 1Marymount Manhattan College and State University of New York, USA.


Studies have reported a wide range in lifetime prevalence of sleep paralysis (SP). This variation may stem from cultural factors, stressful life events and genetic differences in studied populations. We found that recurrent SP was more common among African-American participants, especially those with panic disorder. Recurrent SP was reported by 59% of African Americans with panic disorder, 7% of whites with panic disorder, 23% of African-American community volunteers and 6% of white community volunteers. Significantly more early life stressors were reported by African Americans than whites. Higher levels of psychosocial stressors, including poverty, racism and acculturation, may contribute to the higher rates of SP experienced by African Americans.

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