Persistent psychophysiologic (learned) insomnia (PPI) is an objectively verifiable sleep disturbance that develops secondary to chronic, somatized tension and negative conditioning. Twenty-two patients diagnosed as PPI were compared on sleep and psychological questionnaires to 22 normal subjects (Ns) and to 19 insomnia patients with dysthymic disorders (DD). PPI patients typically had difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep, as did the DDs, but showed normal sleep staging. While PPIs were similar to Ns on most psychological tests, they typically were repressors and sensation avoiders. Many PPI patients suffered from tension-related symptoms such as headaches. PPI patients and Ns revealed less psychopathology than DD patients on almost all psychological scales.