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Am J Psychol. 2014 Summer;127(2):205-13.

Explaining the gender difference in nightmare frequency.


A recent meta-analysis showed a robust gender difference in nightmare frequency of medium effect size in adolescents and young adults: Women tend to report nightmares more frequently than men. The present study, carried out in an unselected student sample, indicates that 2 factors mediate the gender difference in nightmare frequency: neuroticism and overall dream recall frequency. The effect of neuroticism on the gender difference and the finding that the gender difference in nightmare frequency emerges at an age of about 10 years suggest that gender-specific socialization processes may play an important role in explaining the gender differences in nightmare frequency in adolescents and young to middle-aged adults. This idea is supported by the previous finding that nightmare frequency is related to sex role orientation. However, longitudinal studies are necessary to validate these hypotheses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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