Dissociation and Sleep-Related Experiences among Young Adults: Predicting Role of Personality Traits and Stress


  • Usmana Altaf Shifa Tameer e Millat University
  • Mishal Fatima Shifa Tameer e Millat University


Personality traits, stress, dissociation, sleep-related experiences


Personality traits of young adults play an important role in their stress tolerance, which may encounter their daily functioning. The present study investigated the relationship between personality traits, stress, dissociation, and sleep-related experiences. It was intended to find out the mediating role of stress between neuroticism personality trait and sleep-related experiences and the predicting role of dissociation on sleep-related experiences. A purposive and convenient sampling technique was used to collect as sample of 657 young adults including 312 male and 345 female within the age range of18-26. The Big Five Inventory (John et al.,1991), Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen et al., 1983), The Dissociative Experiences Scale–II (Carlson & Putnam, 1993), and Iowa Sleep Experiences Survey (Watson, 2001) were used to measure the study variables. Inter-Scale correlation showed significantly positive relationship between neuroticism stress whereas, significantly negative relationship between extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness personality traits. Regression analysis for mediation indicated that stress mediates the relationship between neuroticism personality trait and dissociation. While linear regression showed that dissociation significantly predicts sleep-related experiences among young adults. Thus, the present study helped in extending the research on the dimension of dissociation and sleep-related experiences among young adults.


Afshar, H., Roohafza, H. R., Keshteli, A. H., Mazaheri, M., Feizi, A., & Adibi, P. (2015). The association of personality traits and coping styles according to stress level. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 20(4), 353-258.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th Ed.). APA

American Psychological Association. (2011). Stress and gender. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2011/gender

Altmaier, E. M. (2019). Promoting positive processes after trauma. Academic Press.

Abbasi, I. S. (2011). The influence of neuroticism on stress perception and its resultant negative affect. (Publication No. 1495356). [Master’s thesis, San Jose State University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Andrews, K. (2018). Exploring different types of dissociative disorders and the necessity of treatment. Bright Quest Treatment Centers. https://www. brightquest.com/blog/exploring-different-types-dissociative-disorders-necessity-treatment/

Besser, A., & Shackelford, T. K. (2007). Mediation of the effects of the big five personality dimensions on negative mood and confirmed affective expectations by perceived situational stress: A quasi-field study of vacationers. Personality and Individual Differences, 42(7), 1333-1346.

Bartley, C. E., & Roesch, S. C. (2011). Coping with daily stress: The role of conscientiousness. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(1), 79-83.

Bonnie, R. J., Stroud, C. E., & Breiner, H. E. (2015). Young adults in the 21st century, in Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults. National Academies Press

Butler, L. D. (Ed.). (2004). The dissociations of everyday life [Editorial]. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 5(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1300/ J229v05n02_01

Cardena, E., & Spiegel, D. (1993). Dissociative reactions to the San Francisco Bay Area earthquake of 1989. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(3), 474-478.

Carlson, E. B., & Putnam, F. W. (1993). An update on the Dissociative Experiences Scale. Dissociation: Progress in the Dissociative Disorders, 6(1), 16-27.

Carver, C. S., & Connor-Smith, J. (2010). Personality and coping. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 679-704.

Cencic, A. (2020). Dissociation as a symtoms of Anxiety. Very well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/dissociation-anxiety-4692760

Chen, Y., Peng, Y., Ma, X., & Dong, X. (2017). Conscientiousness moderates the relationship between perceived stress and depressive symptoms among US Chinese older adults. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences, 72(suppl_1), S108-S112. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glw172

Cherry, K. (2019). What are the big 5 personality traits? Very well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-big-five-personality-dimensions-2795422

Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24(4), 385-396.

Conner, T. S. (2016). Dissociation Across the Lifespan. JCCC Honors Journal, 7(1), 2. http://scholarspace.jccc.edu/honors_journal/vol7/iss1/2

Connor-Smith, J. K., & Flachsbart, C. (2007). Relations between personality and coping: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(6), 1080-1107. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.93. 6.1080

Costa Jr, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Four ways five factors are basic. Personality and Individual Differences, 13(6), 653-665.

Dalenberg, C. J., Brand, B. L., Gleaves, D. H., Dorahy, M. J., Loewenstein, R. J., Cardena, E., & Spiegel, D. (2012). Evaluation of the evidence for the trauma and fantasy models of dissociation. Psychological Bulletin, 138(3), 550.

De Wachter, D., Lange, A., Vanderlinden, J., Pouw, J., & Strubbe, E. (2006). The influence of current stress on dissociative experiences: An exploratory study in a non-clinical population. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 7(1), 87-96.

Denis, D., French, C. C., & Gregory, A. M. (2018). A systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 38, 141-157.

Denis, D., & Poerio, G. L. (2017). Terror and bliss? Commonalities and distinctions between sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, and their associations with waking life experiences. Journal of Sleep Research, 26(1), 38-47.

Ebstrup, J. F., Eplov, L. F., Pisinger, C., & Jørgensen, T. (2011). Association between the Five Factor personality traits and perceived stress: Is the effect mediated by general self-efficacy?. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 24(4), 407-419.

Ervasti, M., Kallio, J., Määttänen, I., Mäntyjärvi, J., & Jokela, M. (2019). Influence of personality and differences in stress processing among Finnish students on interest to use a mobile stress management app: survey study. JMIR Mental Health, 6(5), e10039.https://doi.org/10.2196/ 10039

Eysenck, H. J. (1967). The biological basis of personality (Vol. 689). Transaction publishers.

Fassler, O., Knox, J., & Lynn, S. J. (2006). The Iowa sleep experiences survey: Hypnotizability, absorption, and dissociation. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(4), 675-684.

García-Ptacek, S., Azorín, D. G., Salmador, R. S., Cuadrado, M. L., &Porta-Etessam, J. (2013). Hallucinations and aberrant perceptions are prevalent among the young healthy adult population. Neurología (English Edition), 28(1), 19-23.

Giesbrecht, T., & Merckelbach, H. (2004). Subjective sleep experiences are related to dissociation. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(7), 1341-1345.

Giesbrecht, T., Lynn, S. J., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Merckelbach, H. (2008). Cognitive processes in dissociation: an analysis of core theoretical assumptions. Psychological Bulletin, 134(5), 617-647. https://doi.org/ 10.1037/0033-2909.134.5.617

Goldberg, L. R. (1993). The structure of phenotypic personality traits. American Psychologist, 48(1), 26-34.

Hankin, B. L. (2010). Personality and depressive symptoms: Stress generation and cognitive vulnerabilities to depression in a prospective daily diary study. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29(4), 369-401.

Hobfoll, S. E. (2004). Stress, culture, and community: The psychology and philosophy of stress. Springer Science & Business Media.

Holmes, E. A., Brown, R. J., Mansell, W., Fearon, R. P., Hunter, E. C., Frasquilho, F., & Oakley, D. A. (2005). Are there two qualitatively distinct forms of dissociation? A review and some clinical implications. Clinical Psychology Review, 25(1), 1-23.

Hudson, N. W., & Roberts, B. W. (2016). Social investment in work reliably predicts change in conscientiousness and agreeableness: A direct replication and extension of Hudson, Roberts, and Lodi-Smith (2012). Journal of Research in Personality, 60, 12-23.

Jackson, S., Schneider, T., 2014. Extraversion and stress. In Psychology of Extraversion. Nova Science Publishers, pp. 121-131.

Jeronimus, B. F., Riese, H., Sanderman, R., & Ormel, J. (2014). Mutual reinforcement between neuroticism and life experiences: A five-wave, 16-year study to test reciprocal causation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(4), 751–764. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037009.

John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). Big Five Inventory (BFI) [Database record]. APA Psyc Tests. https://doi.org/10.1037/t07550-000

Kazmi, R., Amjad, S., & Khan, D. (2009). Individual differences and stress performance relationship. Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad, 21(3), 172-175.

Koorevaar, A. M. L., Comijs, H. C., Dhondt, A. D. F., Van Marwijk, H. W. J., Van Der Mast, R. C., Naarding, P., ... & Stek, M. L. (2013). Big Five personality and depression diagnosis, severity and age of onset in older adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(1), 178-185.

Kucukgoncu, S., Aktar, E., Erginbas, E., Bestepe, E. E., Calikusu, C., Algin, F., & Erkoc, S. (2010). Relationship between dissociative experiences, abnormal sleep experiences, and sleep quality in undergraduate students. Dusunen Adam The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences, 23(2), 77-84. https://doi.org/10.5350/DAJPN2010230201.

Leger, K. A., Charles, S. T., Turiano, N. A., & Almeida, D. M. (2016). Personality and stressor-related affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111(6), 917-928. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000083.

Leikas, S., & Salmela?Aro, K. (2015). Personality trait changes among young Finns: The role of life events and transitions. Journal of Personality, 83(1), 117-126.

Leszko, M., Iwa?ski, R., & Jarz?bi?ska, A. (2020). The Relationship Between Personality Traits and Coping Styles Among First-Time and Recurrent Prisoners in Poland. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2969. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02969

Lim, A. G. (2020, June 15). Big Five personality traits. https://www.simply psychology.org/big-five-personality.html

Martin, M. B. (1997). Toward an understanding of the relationship between dissociation and stress in a nonclinical population. The Fielding Institute.

Matthews, G., Deary, I. J., & Whiteman, M. C. (2003). Personality traits. Cambridge University Press.

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (2008). The five-factor theory of personality. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 159-181). The Guilford Press.

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (2003). Personality in adulthood: A five-factor theory perspective. Guilford Press.

Mental health statistics: Stress. (2018). https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/ statistics/ mental-health-statistics-stress.

Mitchell, R. L., & Kumari, V. (2016). Hans Eysenck's interface between the brain and personality: Modern evidence on the cognitive neuroscience of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 103, 74-81.

Nakao, K., Takaishi, J., Tatsuta, K., Katayama, H., Iwase, M., Yorifuji, K., & Takeda, M. (2000). The influences of family environment on personality traits. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 54(1), 91-95. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1819.2000.00642.x

Nijenhuis, E. R., & Van der Hart, O. (2011). Dissociation in trauma: A new definition and comparison with previous formulations. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 12(4), 416-445.

National institute of mental health. (n.d.). 5 things you should know about stress. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/sites/default/files/documents/health/ publications/stress/19-mh-8109-5-things-stress.pdf

Özdemir, O., Özdemir, P. G., Boysan, M., &Yilmaz, E. (2015). The relationships between dissociation, attention, and memory dysfunction. Nöro Psikiyatri Ar?ivi, 52(1), 36-41. https://doi.org/10.5152/npa.2015. 7390

Penley, J. A., & Tomaka, J. (2002). Associations among the big five, emotional responses, and coping with acute stress. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(7), 1215-1228.

Rathee, S., & Kumar, A. (2018). Role of psychological stressors in dissociative phenomenology. Journal for Re-Attach Therapy and Developmental Diversities, 1(2), 84-90.

Reis, R. S., Hino, A. A., & Añez, C. R. (2010). Perceived stress scale. J. Health Psychol, 15, 107-114.

Roberts, B. W., Lejuez, C., Krueger, R. F., Richards, J. M., & Hill, P. L. (2014). What is conscientiousness and how can it be assessed? Developmental Psychology, 50(5), 1315-1330. https://doi.org/10.1037/ a0031109

Romas, J. A., & Sharma, M. (2017). Practical stress management: A comprehensive workbook. Academic Press.

?ar, V. (2017). Parallel-distinct structures of internal world and external reality: disavowing and re-claiming the self-identity in the aftermath of trauma-generated dissociation. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 216. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00216

Saggino, A., Molinengo, G., Rogier, G., Garofalo, C., Loera, B., Tommasi, M., & Velotti, P. (2020). Improving the psychometric properties of the dissociative experiences scale (DES-II): a Rasch validation study. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 1-10.

Saunders, D. T., Roe, C. A., Smith, G., & Clegg, H. (2016). Lucid dreaming incidence: A quality meta-analysis of 50 years of research. Consciousness and Cognition, 43, 197-215.

Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2011). Lifetime prevalence rates of sleep paralysis: A systematic review. Sleep medicine reviews, 15(5), 311-315.

Smillie, L. (2017). Openness to Experience: The Gates of the Mind. Scientific American, Mind. https://www.scientificamerican.com/ article/openness-to-experience-the-gates-of-the-mind/

Soffer-Dudek, N. (2017). Daily elevations in dissociative absorption and depersonalization in a nonclinical sample are related to daily stress and psychopathological symptoms. Psychiatry, 80(3), 265-278.

Soffer-Dudek, N., & Shahar, G. (2011). Daily stress interacts with trait dissociation to predict sleep-related experiences in young adults. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(3), 719-729. https://doi.org/10.1037/a002 2941

Soto, C. J. (2018). Big Five personality traits. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman, & J. E. Lansford (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of lifespan human development (pp. 240-241).

Soto, C. J., & Tackett, J. L. (2015). Personality traits in childhood and adolescence: Structure, development, and outcomes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(5), 358-362.

Spiegel, D., Loewenstein, R. J., Lewis?Fernández, R., Sar, V., Simeon, D., Vermetten, E., & Dell, P. F. (2011). Erratum: Dissociative disorders in DSM?5. Depression and Anxiety, 28(12), 1119-1119.

Spielman, R., Dumper, K., Jenkins, W., Lacombe, A., Lovett, M. and Perlmutter, M., (2020). What Is Stress?. Psychology. https://opentextbc. ca/psychologyopenstax/chapter/what-is-stress/

Spindler, H., & Elklit, A. (2003). Dissociation, psychiatric symptoms, and personality traits in a non-clinical population. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 4(2), 89-107.

Spitzer, C., Klauer, T., Grabe, H. J., Lucht, M., Stieglitz, R. D., Schneider, W., & Freyberger, H. J. (2003). Gender differences in dissociation. Psychopathology, 36(2), 65-70.

Stamp, E. M. (2016). The relationships between perceived stress, the big five inventory, the five-facet mindfulness questionnaire, and yoga. Unpublished master’s thesis. St. Catherine University.

Thompson, E. R. (2008). Development and validation of an international English big-five mini-markers. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(6), 542-548.

Uliaszek, A. A., Zinbarg, R. E., Mineka, S., Craske, M. G., Sutton, J. M., Griffith, J. W., & Hammen, C. (2010). The role of neuroticism and extraversion in the stress–anxiety and stress–depression relationships. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 23(4), 363-381.

Van der Hart, O., & Horst, R. (1989). The dissociation theory of Pierre Janet. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2, 2-11.

Vinney, C. (2018). Understanding the Big Five Personality Traits. Thought Co. https://www.thoughtco.com/big-five-personality-traits-4176097

Voss, U., Holzmann, R., Tuin, I., & Hobson, A. J. (2009). Lucid dreaming: A state of consciousness with features of both waking and non-lucid dreaming. Sleep, 32(9), 1191-1200.

Waller, N., Putnam, F. W., & Carlson, E. B. (1996). Types of dissociation and dissociative types: A taxometric analysis of dissociative experiences. Psychological Methods, 1(3), 300-321. https://doi.org/ 10.1037/1082-989X.1.3.300

Watson, D. (2001). Dissociations of the night: Individual differences in sleep-related experiences and their relation to dissociation and schizotypy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110(4), 526-535. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.110.4.526

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Harkness, A. R. (1994). Structures of personality and their relevance to psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103(1), 18-31.

Weisberg, Y. J., DeYoung, C. G., & Hirsh, J. B. (2011). Gender differences in personality across the ten aspects of the Big Five. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 178. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00178

Wood, D., Crapnell, T., Lau, L., Bennett, A., Lotstein, D., Ferris, M., & Kuo, A. (2018). Emerging adulthood as a critical stage in the life course. In Handbook of Life Course Health Development (pp. 123-143). Springer, Cham.

Xin, Y., Wu, J., Yao, Z., Guan, Q., Aleman, A., & Luo, Y. (2017). The relationship between personality and the response to acute psychological stress. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1-8.