De meest voorkomende thema's waren vallen, te laat komen, verlamd zijn, achtervolgd worden of iemand verliezen waarvan je houdt.
Mannen bleken vooral nachtmerries te hebben over ontslag op het werk en over geweld. Vrouwen daarentegen hadden vooral af te rekenen met het verlies van hun haren of tanden, ongewenst seksueel gedrag of het sterven van een geliefde. Haar of tanden verliezen, zou mogelijks gelinkt zijn aan de angst om onaantrekkelijk gevonden te worden.
uit: Men and women have different nightmares
... The study, carried out by Dr Michael Schredl of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, involved over 2,000 people, who were asked to report on their bad dreams. The results were that 48% reported never experiencing nightmares, 10% said they had them a few times a year, and nearly 5% reported having frightening dreams at least every couple of weeks.
The most common nightmare topics were falling, being late, paralyzed or chased, and losing loved ones.
The study found nightmares about being fired from a job, or about violence were more common in men, while for women nightmares of sexual harassment or a death of a loved one were more prevalent. Women were also more likely to have bad dreams about losing their hair or teeth, perhaps suggesting an anxiety about becoming unattractive. Both genders reported nightmares about failing exams, and they could have such dreams even if they were not students.
Dr Schredl said nightmares about being paralysed, falling, or being chased do not usually correspond directly to experiences in the dreamer’s waking life, but may reflect waking fears. For example, being chased by a monster in a dream might be a metaphor for a daytime fear of a task the dreamer would like to avoid. Dr Schredl said more research is needed to investigate the “possible metaphoric relationship” between nightmares and stressors in waking-life. ...
abstract van de studie: Nightmare frequency and nightmare topics in a representative German sample, Michael Schredl, European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience (14 maart 2010)