Evidence for a dissociative subtype of post-traumatic stress disorder among help-seeking childhood sexual abuse survivors

Karni Ginzburg, Cheryl Koopman, Lisa D. Butler, Oxana Palesh, Helena C. Kraemer, Catherine C. Classen, David Spiegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined evidence for a dissociative subtype of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women seeking psychotherapy for childhood sexual abuse (CSA). One hundred and twenty-two women seeking treatment for CSA completed a battery of questionnaires assessing PTSD, dissociative symptoms, and child maltreatment. Using signal detection analysis, we identified high and low dissociation PTSD subgroups. A constellation of three PTSD symptoms-hypervigilance, sense of foreshortened future, and sleep difficulties-discriminated between these two subgroups (OR = 8.15). Further evidence was provided by the finding of a nonlinear relationship between severity of childhood maltreatment and dissociation in the women with PTSD. These results provide support for a dissociative subtype of PTSD that may stem from more severe childhood experiences of neglect and abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Trauma and Dissociation
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2006

Keywords

  • Child maltreatment
  • Dissociation
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sexual abuse
  • Subtype

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