Reappraising the Link Between Peritraumatic Dissociation and PTSD Symptom Severity

Evidence from a Longitudinal Study of Community Violence Survivors

by Grant N. Marshall, Terry L. Schell

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Cross-lagged panel analysis of longitudinal data collected from young adult survivors of community violence was used to examine the relationship between recall of peritraumatic dissociation and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. Recollections of peritraumatic dissociation assessed within days of exposure differed from recollections measured at 3- and 12-month follow-up interviews. Peritraumatic dissociation was highly correlated with PTSD symptoms within each wave of data collection. Baseline recollections of peritraumatic dissociation were not predictive of follow-up PTSD symptom severity after controlling for baseline PTSD symptom severity. This pattern of results replicates previous work demonstrating a correlation between peritraumatic dissociation and subsequent symptom severity. However, findings are not consistent with the prevailing view that peritraumatic dissociation leads to increased PTSD symptom severity.

Reprinted with permission from Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 111, No. 4, Nov. 2002, pp. 626-636. Copyright © 2002 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.

Originally published in: Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 111, No. 4, Nov. 2002, pp. 626-636.

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