Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)


Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Ana I Fins

Second Advisor

Barry Nierenberg

Third Advisor

Craig Marker


community mental health, personality, psychopathology, sleep disturbance


Studies have found a relationship between psychopathology and sleep disturbances, as well as between psychopathology and personality traits. What has not received attention to date, however, is the interplay amongst all three factors: psychopathology, sleep disturbances, and personality characteristics. This study explores the interaction amongst the three areas, as well as examines specific relationships between psychopathology and sleep disturbances and personality and sleep disturbances.

Forty clients were recruited from a community mental health center. Participants were receiving outpatient psychological services, were over 18, and did not have a diagnosis of active psychosis or mental retardation. Participants completed 9 questionnaires covering items about demographic information, psychological concerns, sleep, personality style, and social desirability. They received a $10 gift card upon completion of the study.

Participants had a mean age of 47.6 (70% female, 77% Caucasian). Results indicated that individuals with more severe psychopathology had poorer sleep quality and greater insomnia severity; however, participants with longer histories of psychopathology did not have more dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep. Participants with more extraverted personality styles did not sleep less than individuals who were less extraverted, and those who were more neurotic did not exhibit poorer sleep quality or greater insomnia severity. Lastly, when examining the relationship amongst all three factors, it was found that psychopathology may be a better predictor of sleep disturbances than personality is (depending on how sleep was assessed), and personality and sleep disturbances are both significant predictors of psychopathology.

The results reinforce the interplay amongst psychopathology, personality, and sleep disturbances. Mental health professionals may want to place greater importance on the role of sleep in the treatment of psychological and personality disorders. Future research could replicate the study with a larger sample, utilize a different personality measure, or follow participants longitudinally from the start of their mental health treatment.

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