Alexithymia and Dream Recall Upon Spontaneous Morning Awakening

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Abstract

Objective

The issue of a quantitative and qualitative impoverishment of dream activity in alexithymic subjects was assessed by analysis of the 14-day dream reports of two groups of accurately selected alexithymic and nonalexithymic subjects.

Methods

Ten alexithymic and 10 nonalexithymic women were selected from a larger sample of 160 undergraduate students. The transcriptions of their audio-recorded dream reports on 14 consecutive morning awakenings were compared with regard to their length and emotional content. Self-ratings obtained from sleep and dream diaries were further considered to assess between-groups differences in dream recall frequency and in the emotional valence, vividness, and bizarreness of dreams.

Results

Dream recall frequency and mean length of dream reports were lower in alexithymic than in nonalexithymic subjects. There were no significant between-groups differences in emotional valence, vividness, bizarreness, and emotions scored according to the Hall and Van de Castle coding system.

Conclusions

The results suggest a general difficulty of alexithymics in accessing (recalling) their dreams.

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