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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2008 June;49(2):111-6

language: English

Dissociation, traumatic experiences, personality disorders and psychopathology

D’Ambrosio A., Vacca M.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine University of Naples, Naples, Italy


Aim. The relationship between pathological dissociation and traumatic experiences has been widely demonstrated by empirical research. Nevertheless, it has been reported that there are subjects with a history of significant abuse who have relatively few dissociative symptoms, whereas there are subjects with a significant level of dissociation and no history of traumatic events. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that there are psycho-pathological characteristics (i.e. specific personality disorders) which can be independent predictors of pathological dissociation.
Methods. Seventy-four consecutive psychiatric outpatients were evaluated for dissociative symptoms (Dissociative Experience Scale, DES), personality disorders (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Axis II Personality Disorders [SCID – II]), current clinical diagnosis and history of traumatic events.
Results. The results show: 1) a positive correlation between presence of dissociation and history of traumatic experiences (χ2: 9.487; P=0.002; OR: 4.955, P=0.003) and between dissociation and borderline personality disorder (χ2: 7.662; P=0.006; OR: 4.411, P=0.008); 2) negative correlation between dissociation and obsessive compulsive personality disorder (χ2: 5.063; P=0.021; OR: 0.231, P=0.033).
Conclusion. It can be suggested that disturbance in modulation of emotions, which characterised borderline personality disorder (BPD) represents a variable which increased vulnerability to pathological dissociation.

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