What dreams reveal about people’s emotional state due to the impacts of COVID-19

  • Serena Le Bel (Author)
  • Teresa DeCicco (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions and changes in the lives of people all over the world, with a concerning number of people reporting a decline in mental health. Since the pandemic is such a recent event, there is very little research on COVID-19, let alone the impact it has had on people’s dreams, however, the research that has just been published is incredibly insightful, and has revealed that consistent with the Continuity Hypothesis, the current pandemic has been reflected in many people’s dreams. The purpose of this study was to expand previous research to determine whether people’s mental health and general mood continue to be negatively impacted by the pandemic, as dreams typically reflect people’s current mental/emotions, as per the Continuity Hypothesis. 109 participants aged 18 to 63 and currently residing in Canada were recruited and completed a survey measuring fears of contracting illnesses using the Illness Attitude Scales (IAS), levels of depression, anxiety, and stress using the  Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), dream imagery, and general demographics questions including anxiety about the pandemic. Results indicated that overall, negative dream imagery including anxiety, stress, and depression-related imagery was related to anxiety about the pandemic and scores of depression, anxiety, and stress on the DASS-21 and fears of contracting illnesses. This study supports the Continuity Hypothesis which suggests dreams are reflective of waking-day experiences, emotions, desires, and activities.


Dreams, COVID-19, Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Illness Fears, Continuity Hypothesis
How to Cite
Le Bel, S. ., & DeCicco, T. (2022). What dreams reveal about people’s emotional state due to the impacts of COVID-19. International Journal of Dream Research, 15(1), 18–26. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2022.1.82110