Research shows that dysfunctional sleep-related cognitions play an important role in the development, maintenance and exacerbation of insomnia. This study examines the factorial validity, psychometric properties and both concurrent and predictive validity of the German version of the 16-item DBAS (dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep) scale. Data was collected in 864 vocational students from the German-speaking part of Switzerland (43% females, Mage = 17.9 years). Data collection took place twice within a 10-month interval. The students completed a German translation of the DBAS-16, the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and provided information about their psychological functioning. Descriptive statistics, factorial validity, internal consistency, gender differences, concurrent, and predictive validity were examined. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the 4-factor structure of the DBAS-16. All factors (consequences, worry/helplessness, expectations, medication) were positively correlated and had acceptable psychometric properties. Females reported higher scores across all DBAS measures. Weak-to-moderate correlations were found between dysfunctional sleep-related beliefs, insomnia and poor sleep quality. Dysfunctional sleep-related beliefs were also associated with decreased psychological functioning, and consistently predicted insomnia and poor psychological functioning at follow-up, even after controlling for socio-demographic background and baseline levels. The present study provides support for the validity and psychometric properties of the German version of the DBAS-16. Most importantly, it corroborates the relevance of cognitive-emotional factors in the onset and maintenance of insomnia and psychological symptoms among young people.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The last author has received research grants from the Swiss Federal Sport Commission under Grant 10-05. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2005) The international classification of sleep disorders: diagnostic and coding manual, ICSD-2, 2nd edn. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Westchester, ILGoogle Scholar
Edinger JD, Wohlgemuth WK, Radtke RA, Marsh GR, Quillian RE (2001) Does cognitive-behavioral insomnia therapy alter dysfunctional beliefs about sleep? Sleep 24:591–599CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Espie CA, Inglis SJ, Harvey L, Tessier S (2000) Insomniacs’ attribution: psychometric properties of the dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep scale and the sleep disturbance questionnaire. J Psychosom Res 48:141–148CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Norell-Clarke A, Jansson-Fröjmark M, Tillfors M, Harvey AG, Linton SJ (2014) Cognitive processes and their association with persistence and remission of insomnia: findings from a longitudinal study in the general population. Behav Res Ther 54:38–48. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2014.01.002CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Vgontzas AN, Fernandez-Mendoza J, Miksievicz T, Kritikou I, Shaffer ML, Liao D et al (2014) Unveiling the longitudinal association between short sleep duration and the incidence of obesity: the Penn State Cohort. Int J Obes 38:825–832. doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Calhoun SL, Vgontzas AN, Fernandez-Mendoza J, Mayes SD, Tsaoussoglou M, Basta M et al (2011) Prevalence and risk factors of excessive daytime sleepiness in a community sample of young children: the role of obesity, asthma, anxiety/depression, and sleep. Sleep 34:503–507CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
Harvey AG, Schmidt DA, Scarnà A, Neitzert Semler C, Goodwin GM (2005) Sleep-related functioning in euthymic patients with bipolar disorder, patients with insomnia, and subjects without sleep problems. Am J Psychiatry 162:50–57. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.1.50CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Baglioni C, Battagliese G, Feige B, Spiegelhalder K, Nissen C, Voderholzer U et al (2011) Insomnia as a predictor of depression: a meta-analytic evaluation of longitudinal epidemiological studies. J Affect Disord 135:10–19. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2011.01.011CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Gerber M, Brand S, Feldmeth AK, Lang C, Elliot C, Holsboer-Trachsler E et al (2013) Adolescents with high mental toughness adapt better to perceived stress: a longitudinal study with Swiss vocational students. Pers Individ Differ 54:808–814. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.12.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gerber M, Kalak N, Lemola S, Clough PJ, Perry JL, Pühse U et al (2013) Are adolescents with high mental toughness levels more resilient against stress? Stress Heal 29:164–171. doi:10.1002/smi.2447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shaw JM, Mitchell CA, Welch AJ, Williamson MJ (2015) Social media used as a health intervention in adolescent health: a systematic review of the literature. Digit Heal 1:1–10. doi:10.1177/2055207615588395Google Scholar
Kim H (2014) Enacted Social Support on Social Media and Subjective Well-being. Int J Commun 8:2340–2342Google Scholar
Morin CM (1994) Dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep: preliminary scale development and description. Behav Ther 3:163–164Google Scholar
Nunnally J, Bernstein B (1994) Psychometric theory. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
Brand S, Gerber M, Pühse U, Holsboer-Trachsler E (2010) Depression, hypomania and dysfunctional cognitions as mediators between stress and insomnia: the best advice is not always found on the pillow! Int J Stress 17:114–134. doi:10.1037/a0019090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lang C, Feldmeth AK, Brand S, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Pühse U, Gerber M (2016) Stress management in physical education class: an experiential approach to improve coping skills and reduce stress perceptions in adolescents. J Teach Phys Educ 35:149–158. doi:10.1123/jtpe.2015-0079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brand S, Gerber M, Kalak N, Kirov R, Lemola S, Clough PJ et al (2014) Adolescents with greater mental toughness show higher sleep efficiency, more deep sleep and fewer awakenings after sleep onset. J Adolesc Heal 54:109–113. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brand S, Kalak N, Gerber M, Clough PJ, Lemola S, Pühse U et al (2014) During early and mid-adolescence, greater mental toughness is related to increased sleep quality and quality of life. J Health Psychol. doi:10.1177/1359105314542816Google Scholar
Beck AT, Alford BA (2009) Depression. Causes and treatment. University of Pennsylvania Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
Seligman M (1975) Helplessness: On depression, development, and death. Reeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar