Attributes of the Dream Self related to anxiety upon awakening and its dimensionality
The traditional interpretation of dreams has failed to live up to expectations insofar as it is purported to obtain relevant information for clinical use. Nor does conceiving of dreams as a by-product of the random nature of neuronal processes appear to permit useful information to be obtained from them. In order to verify this point, this study aimed to test the possibility of obtaining valid and reliable information from dream content based on the attributes of the Dream Self; that is, the character of the actual dreamer who appears in the dream. Information was collected from 235 dreams of 169 people with a mean age of 29.8 years. This was achieved with a self-report questionnaire evaluating 186 attributes of the Dream Self. Attributes related to anxiety upon awakening were subjected to exploratory factor analysis. There were 99 attributes related to anxiety upon awakening and with 44 of them it was possible to find a solution with 3 easily interpretable factors. These factors had alpha coefficients of between .78 and .90 and were related to anxiety upon awakening. The results obtained did not support the idea that dreams are a random phenomenon. Furthermore, it was possible to evaluate dreams through 3 dimensions of the Dream Self: Emotional-Social Unease, Threat-Avoidance and Strangeness-Confusion. It was possible to partially explain these dimensions by means of the continuity hypothesis of dreaming and Revonsuo’s (2000) evolutionary theory.