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Preschoolers' nightmares less prevalent, are trait-like and associated with personality
Date:1/1/2008

WESTCHESTER, Ill. Bad dreams in pre-schoolers are less prevalent than thought. However, when they do exist, nightmares are trait-like in nature and associated with personality characteristics measured as early as five months, according to a study published in the January 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, led by Valrie Simard, under the direction of Tore Nielsen, PhD, of the University of Montreal, sampled 987 children in the Province of Quebec, who were assessed by their parents at the 29-month, 41-month, 50-month, five-year and six-year mark. Parents were asked in a questionnaire about the frequency of their childs bad dreams without requiring that they attempt to judge whether or not awakenings occurred.

According to the results, proportions of participants in each bad-dreams frequency category were quite stable over time. For those reporting never, proportions were as follows: 29 months, 31.4 percent; 41 months, 29 percent; 50 months, 27.7 percent; five years, 30.7 percent; and six years, 31.4 percent. Most fell into the sometimes category (29 months: 65.2 percent, 41 months; 65.5 percent; 50 months, 69.3 percent; five years, 66.4 percent; and six years, 66.3 percent), with marginal proportions in the often (29 months, 1.7 percent; 41 months, 3.9 percent; 50 months, 2.1 percent; five years, 1.8 percent; and six years, 1.3 percent) and always (29 months, 0.7 percent; 41 months, zero percent; 50 months, 0.1 percent; five years, 0.8 percent; and six years, 0.2 percent) categories.

A higher mothers rating of the childs anxiety at 17 months was the best of 10 psychological predictors of bad dreams at 29 months, followed by the fathers rating. Mothers ratings of the childs difficult temperament at five months was associated with a small, but significant, increased risk of having bad dreams at 29 months.

In addition, children with consistent bad dreams were rated by their mothers as having more difficult temperaments
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Contact: Jim Arcuri
jarcuri@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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