Maladaptive Daydreaming Test and Over 600 Past Test Results

Every month hundreds of thousands of people around the world search in order to understand if the ever growing and expanding daydreams they have - that are slowly taking over a larger part of their waking lives - are maladaptive or not.

This is no easy task for a third-party like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist to figure out. Unlike many mental disorders, there is no standardized and agreed upon test, quiz, or checklist for figuring out whether or not someone has maladaptive daydreaming.

As you likely know, psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists utilize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which lists, categorizes, and describes various mental disorders. Each disorder will have a range of symptoms that a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist will look to in order to try to figure out whether or not it "fits" with what their client is suffering from.

Maladaptive daydreaming is not included within the DSM despite repeated efforts and advocacy for its inclusion. But that doesn't mean that you can not begin to understand whether or not your daydreams are maladaptive and stop them.

I developed maladaptive daydreams early out of college - while working at a fancy job in New York City - and sought out the help of psychologists and psychiatrists to no avail. They simply could not comprehend that someones daydreams - something we all have - could ever become maladaptive and harmful to one's own life. 

Ultimately, I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands. That's how the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test contained on this page was developed, which has now been taken by over 600 participants so far.

You can take an interactive version of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test below, or you can scroll down this page to learn more about the test and find a PDF version of it.

 

Here's What You Need to Know

This page is broken down into nine different sections. It will cover how this Maladaptive Daydreaming Test was developed, provide the test itself, provide past results from over 600 participants, explain how your own results should be interpreted, and provide additional resources.

You can use the links below to navigate around this page and come back to sections you wish to read again.

How The Maladaptive Daydreaming Test Was Developed

My maladaptive daydreaming began as many maladaptive daydreams do: as a form of escapism.

I was unhappy with my life and so began to get drawn into daydreams in order to district myself from the realities of my life. However, over time these daydreams began to take over more and more of my waking hours.

Soon I was not only daydreaming before bed, or while making breakfast in the morning, but also throughout the day when I should have been focused on other things.

Not only that, but my daydreams began to get ever more abstract, complicated, and emotionally draining.

At the peak of my maladaptive daydreaming, it was consuming nearly all of my waking hours and I was desperate to make them stop.

Because the expensive psychologists and psychiatrists I spoke to couldn't help me, I decided to help myself.

I ultimately created a seven-step method - along with a series of tricks - that I utilized to stop by maladaptive daydreaming in just a few weeks.

After seeing how little information on maladaptive daydreaming there was online, I decided to write down everything I did to stop my maladaptive daydreams and put it into a little course (Solving Maladaptive Daydreaming).

After speaking with hundreds of those who went through the course, I realized that I should put together a test for those wondering if their own daydreams could be maladaptive daydreams.

An interesting reality about maladaptive daydreams is that while each individuals daydreams may be wildly different, they all at their root involve the following:

  • Maladaptive daydreams often involve a main character who is increasingly dissimilar from the "real" you
  • Maladaptive daydreams often are invasive; you can't switch your attention and get rid of them when you need to
  • Maladaptive daydreams are emotionally-draining; leaving you tired after engaging in them
  • Maladaptive daydreams end up distracting you from dealing with issues in your "real" life and end up causing harm to your "real" life

The Maladaptive Daydreaming Test was created for you to be able to see what the primary attributes of maladaptive daydreaming are and see whether they apply to your own daydreams.

If after going through the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test you think your daydreams are maladaptive and you'd like to stop them, be sure to check out Solving Maladaptive Daydreaming as it has helped hundreds of others overcome their own maladaptive daydreams.

How the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test Works

The Maladaptive Daydreaming Test is comprised of ten statements and can be completed in just a few minutes. However, that doesn't mean you should take just a few minutes to fill it out.

You should think seriously and deliberately about the statements in the test and how they apply or not to your own maladaptive daydreams.

The test is comprised of ten statements that require you to rate how much you “agree” or “disagree” with them.

For example, if you strongly agree with the statement (meaning the statement strongly pertains to your situation) you give it a ten.

If you strongly disagree (meaning the statement does not pertain to your situation) you give it a one.

Obviously, if you fall somewhere in the middle you give some score in-between one and ten depending on how much you agree or disagree with it.

At the end of the test you simply need to add up all your answers to come to a final score.

Between 2018-2020 I gathered over 600 maladaptive daydreaming tests results from folks all around the world of various ages and backgrounds. Toward the end of this page you'll be able to find these results to see where you stand relative to other people who have taken the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test. 

The Maladaptive Daydreaming Test

Instructions: Choose a number between one and ten for each of the following statements. Choose ten if you “Strongly Agree” with the statement. Choose one if you “Strongly Disagree” with the statement. Once complete, add up each of your answers to get your final score (that score will be between 10 and 100).

  1. Maladaptive daydreaming has impacted my life in a severely adverse manner.
  2. Maladaptive daydreaming is something I do multiple times a day, every day.
  3. Maladaptive daydreaming has impacted my academic, social, and/or professional life.
  4. My maladaptive daydreams have become increasingly abstract over time.
  5. I repeat many of the same “scenes” or “scripts” from my maladaptive daydreams many times.
  6. My maladaptive daydreams have grown much more complicated and complex over time.
  7. My maladaptive daydreams no longer revolve around the “real me” as the central character.
  8. I find it difficult to concentrate when I absolutely need to because my maladaptive daydreams will enter my head.
  9. I find myself thinking about my maladaptive daydreams whenever I have spare time.
  10. I consider my maladaptive daydreams to now be a central part of who I am as a person.

Note: Not all of these statements may be relevant to your kind of maladaptive daydreaming. That’s perfectly fine. If a statement does not apply, simply put a one.

Maladaptive daydreaming has impacted my life in a severely adverse manner.

Explanation and instructions: What we mean by this is that your maladaptive daydreams have in some way caused significant harm to your real life. This could mean taking time away from friends, family, work, or school (which has caused issues in these areas).

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the first part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #1 Results

Maladaptive daydreaming is something I do multiple times a day, every day.

Explanation and instructions: You should choose 10 if your maladaptive daydreams are something you think about when you wake up, frequently through the day (even when you should be and want to be doing something else), and when you fall asleep.

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the second part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #2 Results

Maladaptive daydreaming has impacted my academic, social, and/or professional life.

Explanation and instructions: If your maladaptive daydreams have caused significant issues - such as poor school or work performance - then you should choose a number at least above seven.

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the third part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #3 Results

My maladaptive daydreams have become increasingly abstract over time.

Explanation and instructions: Your maladaptive daydreams used to be somewhat related to your real life, but now are entirely divorced from your real life. For example, you, or some version of you, may have been the central character initially but the character has grown increasingly distinct from the "real" you.

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the fourth part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #4 Results

I repeat many of the same “scenes” or “scripts” from my maladaptive daydreams many times.

Explanation and instructions: You repeat the same stories, scenes, or scripted dialogue from your maladaptive daydreams over and over in your head. For example, if your daydreams surround being a concert pianist then you repeat the same set of performances over and over again in your mind. 

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the fifth part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #5 Results

My maladaptive daydreams have grown much more complicated and complex over time.

Explanation and instructions: The timelines and stories involved in your maladaptive daydreams have grown more complicated and complex over time. For example, your daydreams may have begun with just a few characters, but have grown to involve many different characters and storylines. 

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the sixth part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #6 Results

My maladaptive daydreams no longer revolve around the “real me” as the central character.

Explanation and instructions: Your maladaptive daydreams began as something close to the real you being a central character, but now this central character shares very few similarities or attributes to the real you.

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the seventh part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #7 Results

I find it difficult to concentrate when I absolutely need to because my maladaptive daydreams will enter my head.

Explanation and instructions: Even when you absolutely must focus on a task, your maladaptive daydreams still enter your head and distract you (making it difficult to focus and/or concentrate when needed).

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the eighth part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #8 Results

I find myself thinking about my maladaptive daydreams whenever I have spare time.

Explanation and instructions: We all have breaks in our day when we don't need to be thinking about, or doing anything, in particular. If you find when you have free time you keep coming back to the same maladaptive daydream, then you should choose at least above a seven on the scale. 

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the ninth part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #9 Results

I consider my maladaptive daydreams to now be a central part of who I am as a person.

Explanation and instructions: You have trouble sometimes differentiating between real life and the life being lived through your maladaptive daydreams. Sometimes you find yourself confused - for brief periods of time - as to what world you are actually in.

Below is a graph illustrating what the most common scores are for the tenth part of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test - Statement #10 Results

Past Maladaptive Daydreaming Test Results

The following are the accumulated results of those who have previously completed the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test.

In total there have been over 600 participants. The average Maladaptive Daydreaming Test score is 74. 

These results below are put here merely so you can see where you compare relative to other people who have taken the test.

Don't get discouraged because of your score. As will be discussed in the next section of this page, it is often the case that those who score highest have the best ability to quit their maladaptive daydreaming because they are the most motivated to stop.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test Score

Percent of Test Participants

0-20

9%

20-40

13%

40-60

19%

60-80

31%

80-100

28%

Below is a graph showing the distribution of scores that those who have taken the test received.

As you can see, the majority (59%) of those who have taken the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test scored between 60 and 100, while just 22% of those who have taken the test scored below 40.

 

Maladaptive Daydreaming Test Results

The average of those who have taken the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test is 27 with the majority being under the age of 25. 

How You Should Interpret Your Results

Ultimately, whether or not your daydreams are maladaptive is a determination that you need to make for yourself. Regardless of what your score was if your daydreams are negatively affecting your real life then those are maladaptive daydreams by definition and you should work to stop them.

With that being said, in my experience those who score above 40 are almost undoubtably having maladaptive daydreams. For those scoring below 40 it is difficult to determine if their daydreams are really maladaptive daydreams or not. 

Having heard from hundreds of maladaptive daydreamers, what I have noticed is that those who score highest on this test (above 60) are the most likely to be able to quickly stop maladaptive daydreaming when shown the right techniques.

While it's impossible to know for sure why this is the case, I believe it is probably due to the fact that those who score above 60 are simply fed up with their maladaptive daydreams. They want to stop and are motivated to do so once they know how they can. 

I've also observed that those who score below 30 are the least likely to be able to stop their maladaptive daydreams. The conclusion I've drawn from this is that those who score below 30 may not want to keep engaging in their daydreams, but they haven't quite hit their "breaking point" yet the way those who score above 60 have.

Download The Maladaptive Daydreaming Test

If you'd like to print out the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test, you can simply download the PDF version by clicking the image below.

Often it's better to print out the test and circle the answers with a pen or pencil -- this forces you to think for a few extra seconds about what answer you'll pick.

The Maladaptive Daydreaming Test

The 16-Point Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS-16)

In 2017 a group of researchers - lead by Somer, Soffer-Dudek, Ross, and Halpern - published one of the largest and most consequential pieces of research into maladaptive daydreaming. This was a paper detailing diagnostic criteria titled Maladaptive Daydreaming: Proposed Diagnostic Criteria and Their Assessment with a Structural Clinical Interview.

Contained within this paper is the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale, which is a series of 16 questions that you score from 0% to 100%. Answering 0% would denote that over the past month you have not done what the question is asking about. Answering 100% would mean that over the past month you have consistently done what the question is asking about.

Note: Previously they suggested that anyone who scored above 50 was likely to be a "clinical-level" maladaptive daydreamer. However, they found an error in their paper and now believe the correct cutoff is a score of 40.

Below is an interactive version of the MDS-16, or you can print out a paper copy of the MDS-16 here. Make sure to write down your answers as you go through the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale as your score won't be automatically calculated.

Additional Resources

Over the past three years over a thousand people have gone through Solving Maladaptive Daydreaming and I've heard from many of them.

What I have observed is that maladaptive daydreaming affects people from nearly every background. You are not alone and the fact that thousands of people have taken the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test is proof of that. 

One of the interesting things about maladaptive daydreaming is that we all engage in it for the same reason. We get sucked into these daydreams because we want a distraction or diversion from our real life, but yet these maladaptive daydreams have the the terrible consequence of actually making our real life worse.

One thing many fear is that it will take months or years to overcome their maladaptive daydreams because of how long and intensely they've been having these daydreams. 

Luckily for all of us, that's simply not true. There are countless people who have gone through Solving Maladaptive Daydreaming who used just one or two of the "tricks" I've laid out and had their maladaptive daydreams begin to decline severely. 

This is because while many think their maladaptive daydreams have a tight hold over them, in reality their maladaptive daydreams are like a bubble that can be burst. 

Over the past few months I've highlighted a few stories of those who have overcome their maladaptive daydreams. If you're interested, you can read them below:

Lack of Control and Maladaptive Daydreaming

When Does Maladaptive Daydreaming Begin?

Maladaptive Daydreaming About Celebrities

Immersive Daydreaming vs. Maladaptive Daydreaming

As always, take care. I hope you take the time to fill out the Maladaptive Daydreaming Test. If you believe you have maladaptive daydreams, I truly hope you decide to stop them. It's always worthwhile to do so.

Further Academic Research

Over the past several years there has been an increasing academic focus on maladaptive daydreaming. These research efforts have sought to do two primary things:

  1. Quantify the number of people suffering from maladaptive daydreaming
  2. Qualitatively study the nature of these daydreams and how they differ between individuals

While parsing through academic literature is difficult, below are some of the recent research findings in the field. All of these articles are peer reviewed, are published in major academic journals, and have been widely cited by other researchers. 

Trapped in a Daydream: Daily Elevations in Maladaptive Daydreaming are Associated With Daily Psychopathological Symptoms (2018)

Maladaptive Daydreaming as a new form of behavioral addiction (2018)

A Daily Diary Study on Maladaptive Daydreaming, Mind Wandering, and Sleep Disturbances (2019)

Impact of Maladaptive Daydreaming on Grade Point Average (GPA) and the Association Between Maladaptive Daydreaming and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (2020)

Maladaptive Daydreaming, Dissociation, and the Dissociative Disorders (2020)