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J Trauma Dissociation. 2019 Mar-Apr;20(2):212-227. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2019.1572043. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Relationships Between Maltreatment, Posttraumatic Symptomatology, and the Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Among Adolescents.

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a Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research , University of California Los Angeles , Los Angeles , California , USA.
b University of Connecticut , Farmington , Connecticut , USA.
c Duke University , Durham , North Carolina , USA.
d University of Michigan , Ann Arbor , Michigan , USA.


The purpose of this study was to explore relationships between maltreatment, posttraumatic stress disorder, and the dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder among adolescents. This descriptive study used secondary data from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set. A clinical sample of adolescents exposed to potentially traumatizing events ages 12 to 16 was selected (N = 3081) to explore associations between trauma history characteristics, sociodemographic factors, posttraumatic stress disorder, and the dissociative subtype of PTSD which includes depersonalization and derealization. More than half of adolescents who met criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder also met criteria for the posttraumatic stress disorder dissociative subtype with significant depersonalization/derealization symptoms. No particular maltreatment type was associated with increased odds of posttraumatic stress disorder, with or without the dissociative subtype. All posttraumatic stress disorder-affected adolescents, with or without the dissociative subtype, experienced more overall potentially traumatizing events and maltreatment events than those without a posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis. Girls and adolescents in residential treatment were more likely to have posttraumatic stress disorder with the dissociative subtype. This study provides evidence about the dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder among adolescents and provides new directions for research on trauma and dissociation. Future research studies should explore the co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder and dissociation with broader range of dissociative symptoms than only depersonalization/derealization to further understand how to diagnose and treat traumatic stress disorders among adolescents.


Posttraumatic stress disorder; adolescent; dissociative subtype; maltreatment

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