Symptoms of dissociation are a prominent feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a distinct subtype of individuals with the disorder, according to a study published online.
Erika J. Wolf, PhD, and colleagues from the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine interviewed 492 veterans and their intimate partners, and categorized responses using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Participants reported exposure to a variety of traumatic events including combat, childhood physical and sexual abuse, partner abuse, motor vehicle accidents and natural disasters with most participants reporting exposure to multiple types of traumatic events.
The researchers said their data suggested a small but distinct subset of participants characterized by high symptoms of dissociation and PTSD along with high rates of sexual assault history. The researchers suggested that their findings, taken together with other data, provide a basis for adding the new dissociative subtype distinction to the PTSD diagnosis in the DSM5, due for release in May 2013.
They noted that those individuals who reported derealization and depersonalization were more likely to experience PTSD.
The researchers noted some study limitations, specifically that they used CAPS criteria, so findings may not be generalizable compared with other measurement tools. They also noted the retrospective and self-reported nature of the trauma.
Disclosures: Funding for the study was provided by National Institute on Mental Health award RO1 MH079806 and a VA Merit Review Grant awarded to Mark Miller and by a VA Career Development Award to Erika Wolf.