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Behav Ther. 2008 Dec;39(4):386-97. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2007.11.002. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Risk factors for isolated sleep paralysis in an African American sample: a preliminary study.

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Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.


Isolated sleep paralysis (ISP) is a temporary period of involuntary immobility that can occur at sleep onset or offset. It has previously been reported in association with both panic disorder (PD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study examined the association between ISP and several possible risk factors--anxiety sensitivity, trauma exposure, life stress, and paranormal beliefs--in a sample of African American participants with and without a history of ISP. Significant between-group differences were found for PD and PTSD diagnoses, anxiety sensitivity, life stress, and certain aspects of paranormal belief, with the ISP group being higher on all of these indices. No differences were found with regard to trauma exposure. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that PD, anxiety sensitivity, and life stress each contributed unique variance to ISP cognitive symptoms, whereas PTSD and paranormal beliefs did not. These results provide preliminary support for an association between ISP and anxiety sensitivity and corroborate previous reports of ISP's association with PD and life stress. The current trauma/PTSD findings are mixed, however, and warrant future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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