A study of dissociation in survivors of 5 disasters

Fatih Canan, Carol S. North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined dissociation as an outcome to disaster in dissociative data collected from 423 highly-exposed survivors of 5 different disasters using consistent methodology. Ten items selected for conceptual relevance to disaster experience were administered from the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule, a structured interview for lifetime dissociative disorders. Structured psychiatric interviews provided data on incident somatization symptoms, disaster-related PTSD, and lifetime predisaster psychopathology. The Temperament and Character Inventory assessed personality. Observed levels of dissociation were low and not usually postdisaster. Dissociation level was associated with female sex, number of incident somatization symptoms, personality (underdeveloped executive functioning), PTSD, and predisaster psychopathology in bivariate analyses. In multiple linear regression models, dissociation was associated with the low number of incident somatoform symptoms observed independent of the effects of PTSD, hyperarousal specifically (but not intrusion or avoidance/numbing), personality, predisaster psychopathology, and demographic variables which were not independently associated with dissociation. The low levels of dissociation found in this study and the lack of association between dissociation and indicators of psychopathology point to a largely nonpathological nature of the dissociative phenomena measured. These findings do not indicate the development of dissociative psychopathology as a prevalent mental health outcome of disasters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry research
Volume279
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Disaster trauma exposure
  • Hyperarousal
  • Nonpathological dissociation
  • Personality
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Psychopathology
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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