Alexithymia and aspects of dreaming: Differential associations of alexithymia facets with dream variables

Michael Lyvers*, Morgana Robinson, Bruce Watt, Fred Arne Thorberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Research on aspects of dreaming associated with alexithymia has yielded mixed results. The present study recruited a young adult online sample of 577 participants who completed validated indices of alexithymia, emotion suppression, negative moods, and eight aspects of dreaming, with a focus on evaluating a counterintuitive previous finding that alexithymia and two of its core facets were associated with greater self-reported typical emotional intensity of dreams. Total alexithymia and facet scores showed differential relationships to aspects of dreaming including dream recall frequency, emotionality, meaningfulness, nightmare frequency, nightmare distress, usefulness of dreams in problem-solving and creativity, and learning about oneself through dreams. Planned hierarchical regression controlling for demographics, alcohol use, and dream recall frequency indicated that the difficulties identifying feelings (DIF) facet of alexithymia was a significant positive predictor of dream emotionality, whereas the externally oriented thinking (EOT) facet was a significant negative predictor. Stress, but not emotion suppression, mediated the positive relationship between DIF and dream emotionality. The likely role of dream emotionality in higher ratings of nightmare distress, dream meaningfulness, and learning about oneself through dreams among those with higher DIF scores is noted, along with other findings and the strengths and limitations of the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023


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