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An exploration into type of trauma and dissociation experienced in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder

25 July 2014


This study aimed to investigate the relationship between PTSD symptoms, peritraumatic dissociation, and dissociation symptoms across trauma types. Four types of trauma survivors were compared: motor vehicle accident survivors (MVA), sexual assault survivors (SA), alternate forms of trauma (AT), and multiple/mixed trauma survivors (MT). Each group was assessed using the following measures: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-S), Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), and Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire (PDEQ-SRV). A total of 79 non-clinical participants were surveyed online. Results were analyzed using t-tests, a MANOVA, and Persons Product Moment Correlations. Findings showed that individuals with multiple traumas had higher levels of PTSD symptoms than motor vehicle accident survivors, sexual assault survivors, and alternate trauma survivors. In addition, sexual assault survivors reported statistically significantly higher scores on the periatraumatic dissociation measure in comparison to motor vehicle accident survivors. No statistically significant difference was found across the dissociation symptoms measure and type of trauma experienced. When comparing the measures, a positive relationship was found between PTSD symptoms and peritraumatic dissociation, and between PTSD symptoms and dissociation symptoms. A discussion of the results along with implications for future research and treatment for trauma survivors will be reviewed.


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