ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 1, 2-13, 2014
Abstract  E-mail Abstract   Article Purchase as PDF 
Return to Issue List 
Are Poor Sleepers Afraid of the Dark? A Preliminary Investigation

Colleen E. Carney, Taryn G. Moss, Molly E. Atwood, Brian M. Crowe, BA, and Alex J. Andrews
Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

Volume 5, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 2-13

No studies have investigated whether those with poor sleep are aware of being uncomfortable in the dark via subjective inquiry, and no study has evaluated whether poor sleepers have increased fear in the dark using objective indices (e.g., a validated startle paradigm). Good and poor sleepers (N = 108) completed questionnaires about their level of discomfort with the dark and were evaluated for an increased startle reflex by measuring eyeblink latency via electrooculogram in response to unexpected noise in the dark and the light. Participants listened to bursts of unexpected white noise, while in counterbalanced light/dark conditions. Relative to good sleepers, more poor sleepers reported increased discomfort in the dark. There was a significant lighting x time x sleeper status interaction for eyeblink latency. Relative to the first trial in the dark, eyeblink latency in good sleepers increased in the second dark exposure; suggesting habituation in the dark. Eyeblink latency in poor sleepers did not decrease. Thus, poor sleepers reported being uncomfortable in the dark and they remained more easily startled in the dark over the course of the study. It is unclear if the dark may predispose people to sleep problems, or if sleep problems sensitize poor sleepers to fear darkness.

Table of Contents
 Stimuli and Apparatus
 Data Reduction and Analysis

Correspondence to
Colleen E. Carney, PhD, Sleep and Depression Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, 9th Floor Jorgenson Hall, Toronto, Ontario

Fear, Phobia, Dark, Startle, Anxiety, Insomnia, Sleep

Received 24 Sep 2012; Revised 29 Apr 2013; Accepted 29 Apr 2013; In Press 16 Oct 2013

Bookmark and Share

Related articles by AUTHORS
None Found

Related articles by KEYWORDS
None Found

© Copyright 2009-2016 Textrum Ltd . All rights reserved. Published in the UK. - Contact Us Advertise | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use