The association between alexithymia and impoverishment of dreaming: an empirical research amongst undergraduate students
Increasing evidence supports the hypothesis that people with alexithymia present, together with a lack of symbolic function, a dreaming component disorder. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the association between alexithymia and dreaming correlates amongst undergraduates. Data on alexithymia and dreaming component were collected from 100 undergraduates from the degree course in Psychology and 100 from the degree course in Economy and Trading using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Dreaming Questionnaire (DQ). Total score for alexithymia and the mean scores for the three factors of the two scales were calculated. We then compared the total alexithymia scores and the three subscales of the TAS-20 with those of the three factors of the DQ. Economy and Trading undergraduates obtained higher scores for alexithymia than Psychology undergraduates. We also found a significant correlation between the three subscales of the DQ and TAS-20 total scores. Significant correlations were also found between the three TAS-20 subscales and DQ subscales. Our results extend previous research by suggesting an association between alexithymia and altered dreaming content as expression of lack of affect regulation which emerges through conscious cognitive activity and dreams.