OBJECTIVE: A dissociative subtype has been recognized based on the presence of experiences of depersonalization and derealization in relation to DSM-IV posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the dissociative subtype has not been assessed in a community sample in relation to the revised DSM-5 PTSD criteria. Moreover, the 20-item PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) currently does not assess depersonalization and derealization.
METHOD: We therefore evaluated two items for assessing depersonalization and derealization in 557 participants recruited online who endorsed PTSD symptoms of at least moderate severity on the PCL-5.
RESULTS: A five-class solution identified two PTSD classes who endorsed dissociative experiences associated with either 1) severe or 2) moderate PTSD symptom severity (D-PTSD classes). Those in the severe dissociative class were particularly likely to endorse histories of childhood physical and sexual abuse. A principal axis factor analysis of the symptom list identified six latent variables: 1) Reexperiencing, 2) Emotional Numbing/Anhedonia, 3) Dissociation, 4) Negative Alterations in Cognition & Mood, 5) Avoidance, and 6) Hyperarousal.
CONCLUSIONS: The present results further support the presence of a dissociative subtype within the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD.
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