Date of Award:

1980

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

William R. Dobson

Abstract

Subjects' reported dream recall frequency, dream content and vividness or recall were discussed and examined in relation to sex of the subject and MMPI Conscious Anxiety, Conscious Repression and Ego-strength scores.

Fifty-three Utah State University students, who volunteered to participate in a study of dreaming behavior, were administered the MMPI and asked to complete a dream log diary. The dream log required a daily recording of total number of dreams recalled, the number of vividly and vaguely recalled dreams and a rating of each dream in one of four dream content-process categories. Content-process categories included pleasurable, working, conflict and disorganized/frightening dreams. Relationships and possible interaction effects for the variables measured were tested for significance.

No significant relationship was found between Conscious Anxiety, Conscious Repression or Ego-strength and dream recall frequency, sex of the subject, percentage of vivid dreams recalled, or percent of dreams recalled in the positive (pleasurable and working dreams) versus negative (conflict and disorganized/frightening) categories.

Several significant differences were found, however, between the percentage of dreams reported in dream content-process categories for male subjects when analyzed according to higher-lower MMPI scale score categories and higher-lower dream recall level. Results of subcategory analysis tended to support an interaction between anxiety, repression and dream process consistent with the continuity and adaptive theories of dreaming. Male subjects with higher Conscious Anxiety reported a significantly greater percent of disorganized/frightening dreams. Higher anxiety tended to produce a higher percentage of working dreams as long as repression of threatening material was low enough to permit the recall of more emotion-laden dream processes. There was also a significant interaction between reported precent of pleasurable dreams, recall level and repression, which was explained as possibly indicating that pleasurable dreams may serve as an escape of integrating process for high repression male subjects.

Results of analysis for female subjects indicated that higher recall subjects reported a significantly higher percent of disorganized dreams, which is consistent with the salience theory of recall. Recalled dream processes seemed to be not as strongly tied to personality variables for female subjects.

Contentless dreams have been proposed in previous research to reflect repression by the subject. Results showed no significant difference between higher and lower repression subjects on the number of contentless dreams reported.

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