Clarifying negative affect and distressing past imagery in predicting nightmare frequency
Relationships among nightmare frequency, distressing past imagery, i.e., distressing memories, and negative affect remain unclear. This preliminary study examined these relationships while accounting for posttraumatic stress among a sample of 103 university students. Results indicated that nightmare frequency was significantly correlated with negative affect, posttraumatic stress, and distressing past imagery. However, after accounting for distressing past imagery, neither negative affect nor posttraumatic stress significantly predicted nightmare frequency. The findings were consistent with theories postulating that nightmares result from attempts to decathect and consolidate distressing memories. The results and areas of future research are discussed.