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01-04-2010 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2010

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 2/2010

Dream recall and Dream Content in Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 2/2010
Michael Schredl, Heiko Sartorius


Although sleep is widely investigated in children with ADHD, dream studies in this group are completely lacking. The continuity hypothesis of dreaming stating that waking life is reflected in dreams would predict that waking-life symptoms are reflected in the dreams of such children. 103 children with ADHD and 100 controls completed a dream questionnaire eliciting dream recall frequency and the most recent dream. The dreams of the children with ADHD did not show a heightened occurrence of activities but were more negatively toned and included more misfortunes/threats, negative endings, and physical aggression towards the dreamer. Dream recall frequency and general dream characteristics like dream length and dream bizarreness did not differ from children without ADHD. The dreams seem to reflect the inner world of the child with ADHD. From a clinical point of view, it would be very interesting to study whether the negatively toned dreams change during treatment (pharmacological and/or psychotherapeutic) in a way similar to how sleep quality improves.

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