Specific Versus Scaled Estimates: A Comparison of Two Approaches to Measuring Retrospective Nightmare Frequency

William E. Kelly, John R. Mathe, Qiujun Yu


Previous research has retrospectively assessed nightmare frequency using either specific estimates of the number of nightmares experienced in a given time period (i.e., 0, 1, 2…) or rating scale responses about the frequency of nightmares (i.e., not often, often). However, research comparing the two approaches has been lacking. This study compared correlations of specific and rating scale estimates of nightmare frequency with neuroticism, general psychological distress, nightmare distress, and self-related variables among a sample of 117 university students. The results indicated that both measures of nightmare frequency demonstrated correlations of similar strengths with other variables, though scaled estimates had a slightly stronger validity coefficient. Nightmare distress similarly mediated the relationships, including the relationship between the two nightmare measures. The results and suggestions for future research were discussed.


Nightmares; Nightmare Frequency; Nightmare Distress; Personality; Measurement

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2018.2.48486

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-ijodr-484869