Daily reports of posttraumatic nightmares and anxiety dreams in Dutch war victims

J Anxiety Disord. 1998 Nov-Dec;12(6):511-24. doi: 10.1016/s0887-6185(98)00032-2.


A selected sample of outpatients (n = 39) suffering from "delayed" posttraumatic symptoms (more than 40 years after the original war traumatization) took part in an investigation in which posttraumatic nightmares and anxiety dreams were analyzed over a 4-week period on the basis of a daily systematic dream account. Subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire that focused on different aspects of posttraumatic re-experiencing during dreams at home and immediately after waking up, covering a period of 28 consecutive days. All the subjects were initially screened with a standardized psychiatric interview, the Impact of Event Scale, the Symptom Check List-90, and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. Nightmares were most strongly related to recalled dream content and recalled dream content was strongly associated with war experiences. The original traumatic event was often present in the form of what seemed to be an exact replay ("replication") of the original event. Replication and repetition were significantly correlated. The reliability of reports of nightmare content proved to be good.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Periodicity*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Warfare*