Threats in dreams: Are they related to waking-life?

  • Jonas Mathes (Author)
  • Michael Schredl (Author)
    Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany

Identifiers (Article)


According to the Threat Simulation Theory (TST) dreaming has developed and was maintained during evolution because its function of rehearsing threats is essential for survival. The present study analyzed 1612 diary dreams reported by 425 participants (mainly psychology students). The study results indicate that threats play an important role in dreams and, thus, support the idea that dreaming might have a function of rehearsing problematic or threatening situations. Comparing the present results to previous findings shows a considerably large variability regarding the number of threats per dream, the proportion of minor threats, and the reality of threats. As neuroticism and openness to experience were related to the number of threats per dreams, future research should investigate inter-individual differences in waking life which might help explain the variability regarding the dream threat characteristics.


Threat simulation theory, neuroticism, openness to experience
How to Cite
Mathes, J., & Schredl, M. (2016). Threats in dreams: Are they related to waking-life?. International Journal of Dream Research, 9(1), 58–66.