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Evaluation of the Evidence for the Trauma and Fantasy Models of Dissociation

Dalenberg, Constance J.; Brand, Bethany L.; Gleaves, David H.; Dorahy, Martin J.; Loewenstein, Richard J.; Cardeña, Etzel LU ; Frewen, Paul A.; Carlson, Eve B. and Spiegel, David (2012) In Psychological Bulletin 138(3). p.550-588
Abstract
The relationship between a reported history of trauma and dissociative symptoms has been explained in 2 conflicting ways. Pathological dissociation has been conceptualized as a response to antecedent traumatic stress and/or severe psychological adversity. Others have proposed that dissociation makes individuals prone to fantasy, thereby engendering confabulated memories of trauma. We examine data related to a series of 8 contrasting predictions based on the trauma model and the fantasy model of dissociation. In keeping with the trauma model, the relationship between trauma and dissociation was consistent and moderate in strength, and remained significant when objective measures of trauma were used. Dissociation was temporally related to... (More)
The relationship between a reported history of trauma and dissociative symptoms has been explained in 2 conflicting ways. Pathological dissociation has been conceptualized as a response to antecedent traumatic stress and/or severe psychological adversity. Others have proposed that dissociation makes individuals prone to fantasy, thereby engendering confabulated memories of trauma. We examine data related to a series of 8 contrasting predictions based on the trauma model and the fantasy model of dissociation. In keeping with the trauma model, the relationship between trauma and dissociation was consistent and moderate in strength, and remained significant when objective measures of trauma were used. Dissociation was temporally related to trauma and trauma treatment, and was predictive of trauma history when fantasy proneness was controlled. Dissociation was not reliably associated with suggestibility, nor was there evidence for the fantasy model prediction of greater inaccuracy of recovered memory. Instead, dissociation was positively related to a history of trauma memory recovery and negatively related to the more general measures of narrative cohesion. Research also supports the trauma theory of dissociation as a regulatory response to fear or other extreme emotion with measurable biological correlates. We conclude, on the basis of evidence related to these 8 predictions, that there is strong empirical support for the hypothesis that trauma causes dissociation, and that dissociation remains related to trauma history when fantasy proneness is controlled. We find little support for the hypothesis that the dissociation trauma relationship is due to fantasy proneness or confabulated memories of trauma. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
trauma, dissociative disorder, dissociation, suggestibility, fantasy
in
Psychological Bulletin
volume
138
issue
3
pages
550 - 588
publisher
American Psychological Association (APA)
external identifiers
  • wos:000303301500008
  • scopus:84864518804
ISSN
1939-1455
DOI
10.1037/a0027447
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c56df25b-f3b2-4b51-98dc-0acddda866b2 (old id 2563305)
date added to LUP
2012-06-01 12:35:21
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:59:03
@article{c56df25b-f3b2-4b51-98dc-0acddda866b2,
  abstract     = {The relationship between a reported history of trauma and dissociative symptoms has been explained in 2 conflicting ways. Pathological dissociation has been conceptualized as a response to antecedent traumatic stress and/or severe psychological adversity. Others have proposed that dissociation makes individuals prone to fantasy, thereby engendering confabulated memories of trauma. We examine data related to a series of 8 contrasting predictions based on the trauma model and the fantasy model of dissociation. In keeping with the trauma model, the relationship between trauma and dissociation was consistent and moderate in strength, and remained significant when objective measures of trauma were used. Dissociation was temporally related to trauma and trauma treatment, and was predictive of trauma history when fantasy proneness was controlled. Dissociation was not reliably associated with suggestibility, nor was there evidence for the fantasy model prediction of greater inaccuracy of recovered memory. Instead, dissociation was positively related to a history of trauma memory recovery and negatively related to the more general measures of narrative cohesion. Research also supports the trauma theory of dissociation as a regulatory response to fear or other extreme emotion with measurable biological correlates. We conclude, on the basis of evidence related to these 8 predictions, that there is strong empirical support for the hypothesis that trauma causes dissociation, and that dissociation remains related to trauma history when fantasy proneness is controlled. We find little support for the hypothesis that the dissociation trauma relationship is due to fantasy proneness or confabulated memories of trauma.},
  author       = {Dalenberg, Constance J. and Brand, Bethany L. and Gleaves, David H. and Dorahy, Martin J. and Loewenstein, Richard J. and Cardeña, Etzel and Frewen, Paul A. and Carlson, Eve B. and Spiegel, David},
  issn         = {1939-1455},
  keyword      = {trauma,dissociative disorder,dissociation,suggestibility,fantasy},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {550--588},
  publisher    = {American Psychological Association (APA)},
  series       = {Psychological Bulletin},
  title        = {Evaluation of the Evidence for the Trauma and Fantasy Models of Dissociation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0027447},
  volume       = {138},
  year         = {2012},
}