A triadic Affect Network Dysfunction (AND) model of nightmare distress
The affect network dysfunction (AND) model attributes nightmare production and experience to both situational (affect load) and dispositional (affect distress) processes. However, the relationship between these two processes is not clearly specified in the AND model. Numerous studies have reported associations between nightmare phenomena and purported regulators of affect load (i.e., taxing life events). Drawing on triadic theory it was argued that exposure to taxing life events (i.e., daily hassles) is determined in large part by factors associated with affect distress (i.e., high neuroticism and early-life adversity). To test this theory, participants (N = 172) completed an online survey comprising questionnaire measures of neuroticism, early-life adversity, daily hassles, nightmare frequency and nightmare distress. In accord with the hypothesised model: neuroticism, early-life adversity and their interaction all explain unique variance in daily hassles; neuroticism and daily hassles both predicted unique variance in nightmare frequency; neuroticism and nightmare frequency both predicted unique variance in nightmare distress. While early life adversity correlated with nightmare distress in simple bivariate analysis, it was unrelated to nightmare distress after controlling for daily hassles. The results from the present study highlight the need to consider the influence of dispositional factors on situational factors when developing models of nightmare distress.