Does Mind-Wandering Relate to Mood and Stress in Young Adults? A Narrative Review


  • Gladys Sina Faculty Saint-Jean, University of Alberta
  • Vickie Plourde School of Psychology, University of Moncton



Mind-wandering (MW) is ubiquitous and has been extensively studied in young adults. Studies have shown that MW, daydreaming, and sluggish cognitive tempo symptoms (SCT; e.g., staring, mental fogginess, confusion, hypoactivity, sluggishness, lethargy, and drowsiness) are interrelated constructs and all relate to mood and stress-related symptoms. The aims of the current review are to a) document the associations between MW (and related constructs: daydreaming, and SCT) and mood/stress-related symptoms (e.g., anxiety and depression symptoms) in young adults and b) identify potential mechanisms underlying these relationships. We conducted a narrative review of the literature on the subject. We searched MEDLINE (Ovid) and PsycINFO® (Ovid) databases and performed duplicate and independent screening. A total of 559 unique records were identified, and 22 records (published between 1978 and 2017) were included. We confirmed existing evidence of the associations between MW, daydreaming, SCT and mood/stress-related symptoms in young adults (aged 18 - 30 years). Although these associations are reported, our understanding of its directionality and underlying mechanisms remains incomplete. These findings highlight the need for further research combining experimental and correlational designs and including possible mechanisms of these associations in this population.



2020-11-17 — Updated on 2020-11-18




Social Sciences & Humanities