Development and validation of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS)

Eli Somer, Jonathan Lehrfeld, Jayne Bigelsen, Daniela S. Jopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study describes the development of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS), a 14-item self-report instrument designed to gauge abnormal fantasizing. Our sample consisted of 447 English-speaking individuals from 45 different countries. A 3-correlated-factors model best presented the underlying dimensions Yearning, Kinesthesia and Impairment, capturing related rewarding experiences as well as psychological impairment of maladaptive daydreaming. MDS scores were associated with obsessive-compulsive behavior and thoughts, dissociative absorption, attention deficit, and high sense of presence during daydreaming, but less with psychotic symptoms. The MDS and its subscale demonstrated good validity, sound internal consistency and temporal stability and discriminated well between self-identified individuals with and without maladaptive daydreaming. Considering the instrument's high sensitivity and specificity levels, it seems an excellent measure for future investigation of MD that will, hopefully, shed light on the etiology and psycho-biological mechanisms involved in this mental condition, as well as on the development of effective MD treatment methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Fantasy proneness
  • Maladaptive daydreaming
  • Mind-wandering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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