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Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Jul;147(7):887-92.

Dissociative symptoms in relation to childhood physical and sexual abuse.

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  • 1McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02178.


Studies have reported high rates of childhood abuse in people with psychiatric illness. This study examined whether dissociative symptoms are specific to patients with histories of abuse. Ninety-eight female psychiatric inpatients completed self-report instruments that focused on childhood history of trauma, dissociative symptoms, and psychiatric symptoms in general. Sixty-three percent of the subjects reported physical and/or sexual abuse. Eighty-three percent had dissociative symptom scores above the median score of normal adults, and 24% had scores at or above the median score of patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Subjects with a history of childhood abuse reported higher levels of dissociative symptoms than those who did not.

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