Chronic Nightmare sufferers.
Majority of research suggest that there are specific cluster of personality traits, correlated with frequent nightmares. Hartmann et. al (1981) found that chronic nightmare sufferers have an elevated level of pathology, artistic, and creative tendencies, high levels of openness and vulnerability, lack of defense mechanisms, variable and unsettled social relationships, fluid sexual identities, and high sensitivity, in terms of both interpersonal relations as well as perceptual sensitivity. In another study chronic nightmare sufferers reported to experience "distrustful, alienated, and estranged" and "over-reaching to mistreatment." Ninety percent of this type of nightmare sufferers also experience increased mental stress and anxiety. Another characteristic of chronic nightmare sufferers is that they show significantly more traits of Schizophrenia as compared to the non-sufferers. Hartmann investigated that frequent nightmare sufferers were likely to say that they had had unhappy childhoods (without experiencing any traumatic events), and to see themselves as outsiders.
Hartmann theorizes that all of these traits represent the characteristics of "thin boundaries", in a variety of senses. They have permeable sleep-wake boundaries, in that they are often unsure whether they are dreaming or awake, their unusual openness and lack of defenses represent thin ego boundaries, and their interpersonal boundaries are thin in the sense of their overly close, stormy relationships with others. He suggest that this quality of thin boundaries" may be a predictor of schizophrenic illness and that frequent nightmare sufferers are biologically vulnerable to schizophrenia.
Other studies suggest that the level of anxiety is highly correlated with frequency of nightmares. Levin reported that frequent nightmare sufferers scored significantly higher than normal on the Death Anxiety Scale, as well as scoring significantly lower on measures of ego strength.
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