Dissociative Identity Disorder

  • Richard P. Kluft


Dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a complex, chronic, posttraumatic dissociative psychopathology (Kluft, 1987a; Loewenstein, 1991) characterized by disturbances of memory and identity (Nemiah, 1980). It is distinguished from other mental disorders by the ongoing coexistence of relatively consistent but alternating subjectively separate identities and either recurrent episodes of memory disruption, frank amnesia, or both, and/or amnesia for a period of noncontemporary autobiographic memory. It almost invariably emerges as the sequela of overwhelming childhood experiences (Putnam, Guroff, Silberman, Barban, & Post, 1986; Spiegel, 1984, 1991). Its childhood form is often rather simple and its traumatic antecedents frequently can be documented with facility (e.g., Faganand & McMahan, 1984; Kluft, 1984a, 1985a; Hornstein & Putnam, 1992; Coons, 1994). However, it appears that in some adult cases, secondary autonomy of the defense of alter formation and function, the development of additional complexity, and a reworking of childhood experiences occur during adolescence. By virtue of this metamorphosis, the adult form often becomes rather intricate in its structure, and adult patients’ given histories demonstrate the interplay of historical events, fantasy, confabulation, postevent information, and the impact of many nontraumatic exogenous influences (Kluft, 1995, in press a).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard P. Kluft
    • 1
  1. 1.Dissociative Disorders ProgramThe Institute of Pennsylvania HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA

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