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Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 1997 Mar-Apr;47(3-4):108-16.

[Dream recall and sleep disorders].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit, Mannheim.


The present study investigated the relationship between dream recall and sleep disorders. The sample comprised 762 patients who were diagnosed in the sleep laboratory. In the course of the examination they completed the sleep questionnaire SF-B (Görtelmeyer 1986). The results showed a heightened dream recall frequency (DRF) in insomniacs and patients with myoclonia. This result as well as the findings in the control group supports the arousal-retrieval model of dream recall (Koulack u. Goodenough 1976) which emphasizes the importance of nocturnal awakenings. However, this model seems only to be valid for males. In females, DRF is mainly influenced by emotional stress which is best explained by the salience hypothesis of Cohen and MacNeilage (1974). They pointed out that intensive dream emotions lead to high recallability of dream experience. The data gives evidence to the hypothesis of Ermann et al. (1993, 1994) which states that reduced DRF in terms of unsuccessful dream work is accompanied by frequent nocturnal awakenings. DRF of patients with sleep apnea syndrome did not differ from DRF in healthy controls. In addition, sleep apnea parameters did not correlate substantially with DRF. The finding that insomniacs reported more negatively toned dreams in comparison to persons who were examined for sleep apnea but did not showed a pathological apnea index. This may be an hint to increased emotional stress in this patient group. To summarize, the results are promising in clarifying the relationship between sleep disorders and dream life. The next step is to investigate dream reports of these patients by means of content analysis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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