Nightmares: personality dimensions and psychopathological attributes

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2005 Aug;17(4):271-6. doi: 10.1080/09540260500104581.


In this article, in an attempt to integrate recent findings with existing knowledge, we provide an overview of issues related to nightmares that could be useful as a guide to clinical work. After defining what should be considered as a nightmare, we look into the relationship of nightmares with issues such as normal development and maturation, as well as culture. Issues of stress and personality are then discussed in their relation to situational and chronic nightmares. State and trait factors are further elaborated on as we explore the relationship of nightmares and psychopathology. A brief review of organic and pharmacological causes of nightmares follows before we embark on a discussion of issues that relate nightmares to psychological trauma. Some final remarks on treatment conclude our review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology