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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


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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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