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Can the dissociative PTSD subtype be identified across two distinct trauma samples meeting caseness for PTSD?

Abstract

Introduction

For over a century, the occurrence of dissociative symptoms in connection to traumatic exposure has been acknowledged in the scientific literature. Recently, the importance of dissociation has also been recognized in the long-term traumatic response within the DSM-5 nomenclature. Several studies have confirmed the existence of the dissociative posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) subtype. However, there is a lack of studies investigating latent profiles of PTSD solely in victims with PTSD.

Purpose and method

This study investigates the possible presence of PTSD subtypes using latent class analysis (LCA) across two distinct trauma samples meeting caseness for DSM-5 PTSD based on self-reports (N = 787). Moreover, we assessed if a number of risk factors resulted in an increased probability of membership in a dissociative compared with a non-dissociative PTSD class.

Results

The results of LCA revealed a two-class solution with two highly symptomatic classes: a dissociative class and a non-dissociative class across both samples. Increased emotion-focused coping increased the probability of individuals being grouped into the dissociative class across both samples. Social support reduced the probability of individuals being grouped into the dissociative class but only in the victims of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) suffering from whiplash.

Conclusions

The results are discussed in light of their clinical implications and suggest that the dissociative subtype can be identified in victims of incest and victims of MVA suffering from whiplash meeting caseness for DSM-5 PTSD.

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Correspondence to Maj Hansen.

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Ethical standards

The studies were performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Hansen, M., Műllerová, J., Elklit, A. et al. Can the dissociative PTSD subtype be identified across two distinct trauma samples meeting caseness for PTSD?. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 51, 1159–1169 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-016-1235-2

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Keywords

  • PTSD
  • Dissociation
  • Subtype
  • Latent class analysis