April 1961

A Survey of Dreams in Aged Persons

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews, New York.
Attending psychiatrists, Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews (Drs. Barad and Altshuler) and Chief, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews (Dr. Goldfarb).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;4(4):419-424. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710100099012

Introduction  The study upon which this report is based grew out of a twofold interest. On the one hand we wondered if there were any common, perhaps unvoiced emotional preoccupations among the aged. Second, there was the question of whether aging and its associated conditions exerted some consistent influence on flexible affective responsiveness and ways of dealing with emotional conflict.To answer these questions, the dreams of a number of individuals over age 65 were surveyed for common psychological elements. Recalled and reported dreams are regarded as the expression, in symbolic terms, of mental activity during sleep. As such, they are likely to reveal anxiety and other emotions aroused during daily activities and provide clues to characteristic patterns of reacting to these feelings or events. In addition, consecutive dreams may show patterns of affective response and variations in intensity of emotion over a period of

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