Focus upon relational issues in the dream lives of individuals in liminal times of ‘crisis’: Can developmental theory help us better understand dreams?
Two theoretical propositions have been widely adopted by many in the field of dream research within the Continuity Hypotheses of dreaming. This hypothesis posits that waking concerns and daily activities are reflected in individuals’ dreams, and, that there are patterns of consistency/repetition in dreams over long periods of time. In the current study, the researchers argue that developmental theorists such Erikson (1950) and Hinde (1997) may provide additional theoretical insights when considering the continuity and consistency of dreaming, in that these theorists argue that certain developmental stages centre upon discrete and predictable ‘crises’ or developmental tasks. A total of 441 individual dreams from the dream journals of 27 senior undergraduate students were coded and analyzed through a combination of quantitative (cluster analysis) and qualitative (content coding/phenomenological) methods. Results indicate that dream patterns were consistent with the Continuity Hypothesis, in that waking concerns were represented in dreams. It was also noted that the dream content analyzed indeed followed patterns of concerns that were consistent with developmental theories. The adopted methodologies and subsequent analytical techniques, such as cluster analysis, could be very useful in future studies.