Tuesday, May 28

Understanding the Lived Experience of Maladaptive Daydreaming

Canterbury Christ Church University dissertation by Amy Lucas


Section A: Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) is a distressful phenomenon with limited
understanding and recognition, which leads to controversy regarding potential
diagnostic classification. This literature review systematically investigated research
prioritising the voices and lived experiences of people who identify with MD. Findings
relate to quality of daydreaming and fantasy content, pervasion and absorption,
compensatory fantasy themes, emotional salience in fantasy, dependence, impact on
health and functioning, secrecy, and challenges with help-seeking. Implications for
practice and future research are discussed.
Section B: Fantasy in MD can include both positive and aversive content, yet little
research has investigated aversive fantasy. The latter raises potentially important
questions regarding its seemingly pleasurable, compulsive, and addictive nature. This
study explored the experience of MD for people who engage in aversive fantasy.
Findings illustrate three superordinate themes (a lonely adventure, seeking safety, and
torn between worlds) and seven subthemes (ineffability of daydreaming, intrinsic part
of being, is there something wrong with me, managing the world, dealing with negative
emotion, a life of its own, and fantasy battles reality). Benign masochism may be one
way to interpret outcomes, highlighting a potential subtype of MD (MD-AF) with
unique emotion regulation factors. This is discussed in relation to research and clinical


To read the full paper click HERE

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