Low frustration tolerance and sleep quality: negative associations found in four independent studies

  • T. Kushnir


Background: Dysfunctional thoughts impact many aspects of behavior, functioning and well-being. For example ruminations are associated with pre-sleep cognitive arousal and are predictors of poor sleep quality. We assessed the association between a specific type of dysfunctional thinking and sleep quality. Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT) is one of the core indicators of dysfunctional thinking, according to Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy. LFT denotes intolerance of, and inability to accept unpleasant physical or emotional discomfort and therefore can also be viewed as discomfort-intolerance. This tendency to exaggerate frustrations and inconveniences may have various dysfunctional behavioural consequences, e.g. procrastination, resistance to change and failure to adhere to medical guidelines. One would therefore expect individuals with such a disposition to be prone to stress and distress and report impaired sleep quality. Method: Altogether 421 Israeli men and women, ages ranging between 17 and 66, participated in four independent online studies. All participants completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a measure of subjective sleep quality; and a measure of LFT (developed by Kushnir et al, 2006). Results: Significant negative associations were found in all four studies between sleep quality (general score) and LFT: (r= -0.32, p<0.01; r= -0.341, p<.01; r= -0.26, p<.05; r= -0.35, p<.01). Discussion: The findings of significant negative correlations between LFT and sleep quality in four independent studies suggest that this association is not random and should be explored further. Although we view LFT to be trait-like, the correlational nature of these findings precludes a causal interpretation. A longitudinal approach is warranted.
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