Effects of thought-stopping on insomnia

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Villiotis, Stamatios G.
Mitchell, Peter M.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
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The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to examine the effects of thought-stopping on chronic primary initial insomniacs, and (b) to test the attribution model of insomnia. Fourteen mid western university undergraduate students reporting chronic primary initial insomnia were trained to apply thought-stopping to their negative self-attributions specific to sleep at bedtime. They were also asked to report on (a) their perceived sleep onset latencies, and (b) their experienced difficulty falling asleep over a one week period before and a one-week period after treatment.The above 14 subjects were trained by six graduate students in counseling psychology, who, in their turn, were trained by the experimenter in using the thought-stopping technique with insomniacs. For purposes of statistical design and reasoning, a control, and an awareness group of 12 subjects each were used for comparing the outcome measures on perceived sleep onset latencies, and experienced difficulty falling asleep.A one-way multivariate analysis of variance showed statistical significance at the .01 level between pre and posttreatment data on both dependent variables. Post hoc Sheffe tests were computed, and rendered posttreatment differences between groups at the .05 level. Pearson correlations between the two outcome measures, perceived sleep onset latencies, and reported difficulty falling asleep, were also computed and found to be consistently significant at levels ranging from .05 to .0001 in all 14 daily observations except those of day 7 in the main treatment group, and days 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 in the awareness group.Based on the results of the study, thought-stopping used by chronic primary initial insomniacs, trained to apply it to negative sleep related self-attributions at bedtime, results in reduced reported sleep onset latencies, and results of the present study substantiate the attribution model of insomnia, according to which negative self attributions related to perceived sleeping difficulties provoke cognitive arousal at levels incompatible with sleep onset.