The Prevalence of Nightmares and Their Independence From Anxiety

James M. Wood, Richard R. Bootzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Although several studies have examined the prevalence of nightmares and their relationship to anxiety, this is the first to have used daily dream logs, rather than retrospective self-reports, to monitor nightmare frequency. 220 undergraduates were administered self-report measures of anxiety and for 2 weeks recorded the number of their nightmares in logs. 47% of Ss reported at least one nightmare during the study period. The dream logs yielded an estimated mean annual nightmare frequency of 23.6, which is 2.5 times as great as the estimate yielded by retrospective reports (p < .01). Nightmare frequency and anxiety were uncorrelated. The findings indicate that nightmares are more prevalent than has been reported, and their frequency unrelated to self-reported anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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