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J Trauma Dissociation. 2013;14(3):328-41. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2012.736929.

What contributes to predicting change in the treatment of dissociation: initial levels of dissociation, PTSD, or overall distress?

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Psychology Department, Towson University, Towson, Maryland 21252, USA.


Individuals with dissociative disorders (DDs) suffer from high levels of dissociation as well as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general distress. No research has investigated how changes in dissociation relate to changes in other symptoms over the course of treatment in patients with DD. Using a prospective, naturalistic design, we collected reports of symptoms from a sample of therapists and their patients diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder or dissociative disorder not otherwise specified who participated in the Treatment Outcome of Patients with Dissociative Disorders study. The patients completed surveys at intake (Time 1) into the study and at 30-month follow-up (Time 4). We found that dissociative symptoms, including amnesia, depersonalization/derealization, and absorption, at the initial assessment of the study ("initial") were related to initial levels of PTSD and general distress and that changes in dissociative symptoms were related to changes in PTSD and general distress. Initial dissociation was a significant predictor of change in dissociation at 30 months when we controlled for length of time for follow-up, length of time practicing therapy, and length of time treating dissociative patients. Our results suggest that a reduction in dissociative symptoms in DD patients is associated with reductions in the overall severity of dissociative, posttraumatic stress, and distress symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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