Alexithymia and emotionality of dreams

Michael Lyvers*, Oscar Goldberg, Fred Arne Thorberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Findings have been mixed regarding aspects of dreaming in alexithymia. The present study explored the relationship of alexithymia and its facets to frequency and emotional intensity of remembered dreams in a young adult sample. A sample of 109 men and women aged 18-30 years was recruited from two universities and the general Australian community. Participants completed an online survey assessing frequency of dream recall and nightmares, as well as typical emotional intensity of dreams. Validated measures assessed alexithymia, alcohol use, and negative moods. Multivariate alexithymia X gender analysis of covariance controlling for alcohol use and negative moods indicated that the alexithymia group (n = 47) scored significantly higher on typical emotional intensity of dreams compared to controls (n = 62), with no other group differences. Further, the core difficulty identifying feelings (DIF) facet of alexithymia was significantly positively correlated with typical emotional intensity of dreams, and was the only significant predictor of dream emotionality in a regression model that accounted for potential confounding variables. Results appear to be consistent with the psychoanalytic notion that suppressed or repressed emotions are likely to emerge in dreams, given that alexithymia has been linked to emotional suppression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Dream Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2023


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