Although disturbing dreams are prevalent in youth and are associated with psychopathology, little is known about their developmental course and risk factors. We aimed to examine the association between early social environment and subsequent disturbing dream frequency across adolescence as moderated by early negative emotionality. Measures of children’s early social environment and negative emotionality were collected from the mothers of 410 children (5–42 months old) and measures of disturbing dream frequency directly from the children (13–18 years old). Preliminary steps identified subgroups of families with distinct profiles of social environment using latent variable mixture modeling, and captured changes in disturbing dream frequency using latent growth modeling. Regression and moderation analyses were conducted to test the study objectives. Results showed that the diverse family patterns were best captured by two profiles reflecting adverse and positive social environments and that overall disturbing dream frequency decreased during adolescence. Moderation analyses showed that when early negative emotionality was higher, DD frequency was not only more elevated in an adverse environment, but lower in a positive environment. These results indicate that the development of disturbing dreams is most strongly associated with a combination of individual and environment factors. Our study adds to the literature by refining our conception of individual traits and disturbing dream development and has implications for the prevention of bad dreams, nightmares, and associated psychopathologies.