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The association of dissociative symptoms with exposure to trauma

  • S. Ullah (a1), M. T. Khalily (a1), I. Ahmad (a1) and B. Hallahan (a2)
Abstract
Background

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of North-West Pakistan has endured increased levels of violence in recent years. The psychological sequelae of such trauma including the presence of dissociative symptoms has been minimally investigated to date. The study examines psychopathology experienced including the presence of dissociative symptoms, and ascertain what factors are potentially predictive of these symptoms.

Method

Third-level students (n=303) completed psychometric instruments relating to their experience of traumatic events and assessed depression, anxiety and dissociative symptoms.

Results

Symptoms suggestive of post-traumatic stress disorder were evident in 28% of individuals. Symptoms relating to intrusive experiences and alterations in reactivity predicted dissociative, depressive and anxiety symptoms (p<0.01).

Conclusion

Trauma related to violence in this study was associated with significant pathology including dissociative symptoms. Identification and subsequent treatment of dissociative symptoms in individuals who have experienced trauma, may have a significant ameliorating effect on levels of functioning and thus should be included in clinical assessment.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: B. Hallahan, Department of Psychiatry, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. (Email: brian.hallahan@nuigalway.ie)
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