Relationship Between Sleep Paralysis and Mental Health Disorders

This two-part study examined the relationship between the occurrence and rates of Sleep Paralysis and various anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or Social Anxiety (SA), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This research bridges the gap in knowledge regarding this phenomenon that leaves sufferers completely paralyzed upon waking or falling asleep, and is sometimes accompanied by intense fear and hallucinations. The first study involved a retrospective analysis to confirm the presence of SP symptoms in individuals via reputable dream and sleep journals. The use of Chi-Square analysis, text analysis, and biographical history of anxiety or PTSD symptoms revealed an apparent relationship between SP and anxiety symptoms (X2 (3) = 15, p< 0.05).  The second study examined the correlation between SP, GAD, and SA. A self-report questionnaire measured participant rates of SP, GAD, and SA and a Pearson Correlation revealed a positive correlation between SP and GAD (r(160) = .133, p=.046), consistent with expected results. It was also believed that there would be a positive correlation between SP and SA, and that women would have higher rates of comorbidity (presence of both SP and either SA or GAD); however no significant relationship was found between these variables.