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Psychiatry Res. 1994 Mar;51(3):245-52.

Early REM sleep: a compensatory change in depression?

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Social Sciences, Rush University, Chicago, IL.


To test for a possible mood-regulatory function of dreaming, the dream reports of 61 subjects undergoing divorce were scored for their dream-like quality (DLQ), and a difference score (DLQd) was computed between the content of rapid eye movement (REM) period 1 and the mean of the subsequent dreams of the night. Subjects with reduced latency to the first REM period had enhanced first dream DLQ scores in relation to the mean of later dreams (DLQd+ score). Those with DLQd+ had significantly higher scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Depressed subjects with DLQd+ showed significantly lower mean BDI scores at followup assessment. Implications for a psychological function of dreaming are discussed.

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