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J Trauma Dissociation. 2012;13(3):330-44. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2011.641205.

Dissociation in sexually abused Puerto Rican children: a replication utilizing social workers as informers.

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  • 1Support of Sexual Abuse Victims and their Families Program, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


This study explores dissociative symptoms in 3 different groups of Puerto Rican children. Data were collected on 40 children with documented sexual abuse history, 39 children with psychiatric disorders but without a history of sexual abuse, and 40 community control children. Dissociative symptoms were assessed with the child using the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC); a social worker answered the Child Dissociative Checklist (CDC). Results indicated that children with sexual abuse obtained significantly different scores on both the TSCC and the CDC. Further analysis indicated that child and social worker reports of dissociative symptoms were highly correlated (r = .73). Furthermore, 30% of the children in the sexual abuse group scored at or above the cutoff point of 12 on the CDC, which is indicative of a dissociative disorder. None of the children in the other 2 groups obtained such a score. The results suggest that children with documented sexual abuse victimization demonstrate a significant number of dissociative phenomena that not only are subjectively experienced but also can be observed by a non-family member. Finally, as nearly a third of the abused children obtained a score of 12 or higher on the CDC, the next step is to prepare clinicians to conduct a proper and formal diagnosis assessment of dissociative disorders.

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