Maladaptive Daydreaming Among Recovering Substance Use Disorder Patients: Prevalence and Mediation of the Relationship Between Childhood Trauma and Dissociation

  • Eli SomerEmail author
  • Hisham Motkal Abu-Raya
  • Zina Nsairy Simaan
Original Article


The main purpose of this paper was to examine whether patients recovering from substance use disorder (R-SUD) engage in an absorptive mental activity known as maladaptive daydreaming (MD). One hundred eighty Israeli Arab men participated in this study. Of them, 100 were R-SUD patients receiving care from a government agency and 80 constituted a non-clinical control sample. We found that individuals recovering from SUD are more likely to report a history of childhood trauma, particularly emotional neglect, as well as current dissociative experiences. Furthermore, we also provided evidence that compared to a matched control group; R-SUD patients tend more to engage in intense and immersive daydreaming that can reach pathological levels (MD). The study also showed that the relationship between traumatic emotional neglect and later dissociation is partially mediated by the propensity for extreme daydreaming. We argue that since the childhood adversities commonly characterize the histories of SUD patients, this group is at an increased risk, not only of trauma-related dissociative disorders but also of maladaptive daydreaming, a less known, distressful form of a dissociative absorption in fantasy.


Maladaptive daydreaming Childhood trauma Dissociation Substance use disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.School of Psychology & Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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