The role of stress in the onset and frequency of recurrent dreams was investigated by comparing dream recall of students undergoing naturalistic stress conditions. Thirty nine students in active, past and non-recurrent dream groups (n = 13) recorded frequency of nights per week involving overall and recurrent dream recall in the week prior to mid-term examinations and in a neutral study week in second semester. Self-report measures of everyday hassles and uplifts, anxiety and positive and negative affect experienced during these conditions were also collected. Anxiety and negative affect were reported as significantly higher in the pre-examination week. Overall the groups reported dreams on significantly more nights in the pre-examination week than the post examination week. Recurrent dream nights increased during the stress week for the active recurrent dream group but there was no change in recurrent dream recall for the other groups. These findings are consistent with theories that the experience of emotional stress is a critical factor in the onset and persistence of recurrent dreams.
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Duke, T., Davidson, J. Ordinary and Recurrent Dream Recall of Active, Past and Non-recurrent Dreamers During and After Academic Stress. Dreaming 12, 185–197 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021152411010
- recurrent dreams
- dream recall