Longitudinal associations between maladaptive daydreaming and psychological distress during the COVID-19 health crisis

Alessandro Musetti, Nirit Soffer-Dudek, Chiara Imperato, Adriano Schimmenti, Christian Franceschini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and aims: Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) is a suggested syndrome where individuals become addicted to fantasizing vividly for hours on end at the expense of engaging in real-world relationships and functioning. MD can be seen as a behavioral addiction. However, a paucity of longitudinal research means that there is no empirical evidence confirming the stability of this alleged addiction. Moreover, the direction of its association with psychopathology is unclear. Methods: We examine, for the first time, long-term stability and longitudinal associations between MD, psychological distress (stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms) and COVID-19 related exposure. Results: Participants (N 5 814) completed an online survey twice, with a lag of 13 months. A two-wave structural equation model demonstrated high MD stability and positive cross-lagged pathways from MD to psychological distress. COVID-19 related exposure was not a longitudinal predictor. Discussion and conclusions: MD is a stable condition and a risk factor for an increase in psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-294
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • maladaptive daydreaming
  • psychological distress
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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