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Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2013 Nov 26;4. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.21452. eCollection 2013.

Differences in trauma history and psychopathology between PTSD patients with and without co-occurring dissociative disorders.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The interplay between different types of potentially traumatizing events, posttraumatic symptoms, and the pathogenesis of PTSD or major dissociative disorders (DD) has been extensively studied during the last decade. However, the phenomenology and nosological classification of posttraumatic disorders is currently under debate. The current study was conducted to investigate differences between PTSD patients with and without co-occurring major DD with regard to general psychopathology, trauma history, and trauma-specific symptoms.

METHODS:

Twenty-four inpatients were administered the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS) and the Mini-Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (MINI-SKID-D) to assess DD and PTSD. Additionally, participants completed questionnaires to assess general psychopathology and health status.

RESULTS:

Symptom profiles and axis I comorbidity were similar in all patients. Traumatic experiences did not differ between the two groups, with both reporting high levels of childhood trauma. Only trauma-specific avoidance behavior and dissociative symptoms differed between groups.

CONCLUSION:

Results support the view that PTSD and DD are affiliated disorders that could be classified within the same diagnostic category. Our results accord with a typological model of dissociation in which profound forms of dissociation are specific to DD and are accompanied with higher levels of trauma-specific avoidance in DD patients.

KEYWORDS:

DDNOS; Dissociation; PTSD; dissociative disorders; structural dissociation

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