Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The study of electrodermal activity (EDA) began over a century ago, and the phenomenon has been linked to many aspects of emotion, arousal and attention. A subset of studies has focused on the occurrence of EDA in sleep (EDAS). These investigations have led to definitive conclusions on when EDA is most likely to occur during the sleep cycle, i.e., slow-wave sleep. Studies have also shown that at least moderate stress tends to increase EDAS, but these studies have fallen short methodologically. The aims of the present study were: (a) to investigate the relation of negative affect and stress to EDAS, and to determine the extent to which these variables are predictive of EDAS; and (b) to explore the utility of EDAS as an index of sympathetic nervous system arousal and of sleep quality. Several additional hypotheses were also tested. Participants were 70 referrals to a local sleep disorders center. Subjects completed a demographic profile form and self-report measures of mood disturbance, worry and stress and underwent skin potential measurement during an overnight sleep study. Correlation and multiple regression analyses determined that weak relations exist between negative affect, worry and stress and EDAS, and that these variables are largely ineffective in predicting EDAS in a sleep-disordered population. Further, EDAS had no relation to self-reported sleep quality in this sample. Additional analyses found significant associations between apneic and periodic limb movement events and both central (EEG) and autonomic arousals (EDAS), and that a combination of both central and autonomic nervous system arousal variables might provide a better indicator of the amount of sleep disturbance present.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

William F. Waters



Included in

Psychology Commons