Delineating the relationship between insomnia, dysfunctional sleep beliefs, perceived stress, anxiety , and depression

Hannah P Lethbridge, Aileen M. Pidgeon

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Insomnia is a sleep disorder highly prevalent among university
students which can increase the risk for developing anxiety and depression.
Vulnerability to dysfunctional sleep beliefs, and cognitive arousal (perceived
stress) have been shown to be predisposing factors for insomnia. Although
insomnia in university students is associated with deleterious effects, limited
research has focused on this at-risk population. The aim of the current study
was to further delineate the relationships between insomnia, perceived stress,
dysfunctional sleep beliefs, anxiety and depression among a sample of 195
Australian university students (33 males; 162 females; Mage = 22.37, SD =
7.02). Mediation and regression analyses were conducted to test findings.
Results suggested the prevalence of insomnia among Australian university
students was 16.9% respectively. Regression analyses indicated that anxiety,
depression and insomnia all predicted outcomes in each other, indicative of a
bidirectional relationship between these variables. Dysfunctional sleep
beliefs partially mediated the predictive relationships between perceived
stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. These findings may have
implications for incorporating belief-targeted insomnia treatment into
cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and depressive disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Scientific Journal
Issue numberSpecial Edition
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


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