Title of Abstract

The Role of Stress and Trauma in Immersive Daydreaming and Parasocial Relationships.

Poster Number

60

Submitting Student(s)

Autumn Hennis
Savannah Dover
Megan Hansen

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

We examined both stress and trauma as possible predictors of maladaptive daydreaming, as well as exploring additional aspects of fantasy escapism. We hypothesized that adults who had higher levels of stress or trauma would be more susceptible to fantasy escapism and maladaptive daydreaming. Participants were adults with a mean age of 23.01 (SD=8.41). The majority were women (75%) and Caucasian (71%). Participants responded to scales to assess their past experiences with trauma, perceived stress, and maladaptive daydreaming. Our hypotheses were supported. Higher levels of trauma predicted higher levels of maladaptive daydreaming. We additionally found that higher levels of everyday stress related more strongly to higher levels of maladaptive daydreaming than did trauma. In other words, this ineffective and unhealthy coping strategy may be more widely used than previously realized. Across gender and race, adults reported similar levels of maladaptive daydreaming. Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals engaged in more maladaptive daydreaming; they had also experienced more trauma and stress, which may have been the driving factors in their heightened levels of maladaptive daydreaming. There were no age differences in fantasy escapism, stress levels, or experience with trauma; however, younger adults reported greater engagement in maladaptive daydreaming. Perhaps immersion in social media and technology has primed the younger generation to prefer internal interactions over ones in the physical world. These findings add to our growing understanding of this addictive and problematic form of daydreaming, revealing that it may be elicited by a wider variety of circumstances than previously documented.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

The Role of Stress and Trauma in Immersive Daydreaming and Parasocial Relationships.

We examined both stress and trauma as possible predictors of maladaptive daydreaming, as well as exploring additional aspects of fantasy escapism. We hypothesized that adults who had higher levels of stress or trauma would be more susceptible to fantasy escapism and maladaptive daydreaming. Participants were adults with a mean age of 23.01 (SD=8.41). The majority were women (75%) and Caucasian (71%). Participants responded to scales to assess their past experiences with trauma, perceived stress, and maladaptive daydreaming. Our hypotheses were supported. Higher levels of trauma predicted higher levels of maladaptive daydreaming. We additionally found that higher levels of everyday stress related more strongly to higher levels of maladaptive daydreaming than did trauma. In other words, this ineffective and unhealthy coping strategy may be more widely used than previously realized. Across gender and race, adults reported similar levels of maladaptive daydreaming. Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals engaged in more maladaptive daydreaming; they had also experienced more trauma and stress, which may have been the driving factors in their heightened levels of maladaptive daydreaming. There were no age differences in fantasy escapism, stress levels, or experience with trauma; however, younger adults reported greater engagement in maladaptive daydreaming. Perhaps immersion in social media and technology has primed the younger generation to prefer internal interactions over ones in the physical world. These findings add to our growing understanding of this addictive and problematic form of daydreaming, revealing that it may be elicited by a wider variety of circumstances than previously documented.