Background. Depersonalization has long been considered a syndrome but there is poor agreement on its constituent symptoms.
Method. In order to establish whether different symptoms of depersonalization represent the expression of a single or several underlying dimensions, an exploratory factor analysis on the Cambridge Depersonalization Scale (CDS) was carried out on 138 consecutive patients diagnosed with depersonalization disorder.
Results. Four well determined factors accounting for 73·3% of the variance were extracted. These were labelled ‘Anomalous Body Experience’; ‘Emotional Numbing’; ‘Anomalous Subjective Recall’ and ‘Alienation from Surroundings’.
Conclusions. Symptoms of depersonalization belong to distinct but related psychopathological domains.