Insomnia symptoms, nightmares, and suicidal ideation in a college student sample

Sleep. 2011 Jan 1;34(1):93-8. doi: 10.1093/sleep/34.1.93.


Study objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether insomnia symptoms and nightmares are related to suicidal ideation independent of one another and independent of the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Design: The study consisted of questionnaires examining insomnia symptoms and nightmares, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The questionnaires were administered online.

Setting: University.

Patients or participants: 583 undergraduate students at a large, public university in southeastern United States.

Interventions: N/A.

Measurements and results: Results indicated that both nightmares and insomnia symptoms were related to suicidal ideation, independent of one another. Nightmares, but not insomnia symptoms, were related to suicidal ideation after controlling for the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Conclusions: Nightmares may be more than a marker of PTSD and hence may be important in the identification of suicidal ideation.

Keywords: Nightmares; insomnia symptoms; suicidal ideation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Students / psychology*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult