Introduction: Vulnerability to stress-related sleep disturbances and maladaptive sleep beliefs has been proposed to be predisposing factors for insomnia. Yet previous studies addressing these factors have been cross-sectional in nature and could not be used to infer the time sequences of the association. The current study used a six-year follow-up to examine the predisposing roles of these two factors and their interactions with major life stressors in the development of insomnia. Methods: One hundred seventeen college students recruited for a survey in 2006 participated in this follow-up survey in 2012. In 2006, they completed a packet of questionnaires including the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep Questionnaire, 10-item version (DBAS-10), the Ford Insomnia Response to Stress Test (FIRST), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI); in 2012 they completed the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and the modified Life Experiences Survey (LES). Results: Fourteen of the participants were found to suffer from insomnia as measured by the ISI. Logistic regression showed that scores on both DBAS-10 and FIRST could predict insomnia at follow-up. When the interaction of DBAS-10 and LES and that of FIRST and LES were added, both DBAS-10 and FIRST remained significant predictors, while the interaction of FIRST and LES showed a near-significant trend in predicting insomnia. Conclusions: The results showed that both vulnerability to stress-related sleep disturbances and maladaptive sleep beliefs are predisposing factors for insomnia. The hypothesized interaction effect between sleep vulnerability and major life stressors was found to be marginal. The maladaptive sleep beliefs, on the other hand, showed a predisposing effect independent from the influences of negative life events.
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