Is it Trauma- or Fantasy-based? Comparing dissociative identity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, simulators, and controls

Our research group proudly presents our most recent paper: Vissia et al. (2016). Is it Trauma- or Fantasy-based? Comparing dissociative identity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, simulators, and controls. 

The article won the 2017 Pierre Janet Writing Award of the International society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation

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Objective

The Trauma Model of dissociative identity disorder (DID) posits that DID is etiologically related to chronic neglect and physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood. In contrast, the Fantasy Model posits that DID can be simulated and is mediated by high suggestibility, fantasy proneness, and sociocultural influences. To date, these two models have not been jointly tested in individuals with DID in an empirical manner. 

Method

This study included matched groups [patients (n = 33) and controls (n = 32)] that were compared on psychological Trauma and Fantasy measures: diagnosed genuine DID (DID-G, n = 17), DIDsimulating healthy controls (DID-S, n = 16), individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD, n = 16), and healthy controls (HC, n = 16). Additionally, personality-state-dependent measures were obtained for DID-G and DID-S; both neutral personality states (NPS) and trauma-related personality states (TPS) were tested. 

Conclusion

For Trauma measures, the DID-G group had the highest scores, with TPS higher than NPS, followed by the PTSD, DID-S, and HC groups. The DID-G group was not more fantasy-prone or suggestible and did not generate more false memories. Malingering measures were inconclusive. Evidence consistently supported the Trauma Model of DID and challenges the core hypothesis of the Fantasy Model.

The psychobiology of authentic and simulated dissociative personality states: The full monty

Our DID research group proudly presents the paper: Reinders et al. (2016). The psychobiology of authentic and simulated dissociative personality states: The full monty.

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Abstract

The etiology of dissociative identity disorder (DID) remains a topic of debate. Proponents of the fantasy model and the trauma model of DID have both called for more empirical research. To this end, the current study presents new and extended data analyses of a previously published H15/2O positron emission tomography imaging study.

This study included 29 subjects: 11 patients with DID and 10 high- and 8 low-fantasy-prone DID-simulating mentally healthy control subjects. All subjects underwent an autobiographical memory script–driven (neutral and trauma related) imagery paradigm in 2 (simulated) dissociative personality states (neutral and trauma related). Psychobiological and psychophysiological data were obtained.

Results of the new post-hoc tests on the psychophysiological responses support the trauma model. New results of the brain imaging data did not support the fantasy model. This study extends previously published results by offering important new supporting data for the trauma model of DID.

English Masterclass in Spain

To celebrate the completion of The trinity of trauma: Ignorance, fragility and control, Volume III, Enactive trauma therapy , there will be two Masterclasses, one in German in Prien am Chiemsee (Germany), and one in English in Guardamar (Spain). Whereas the actual book will appear in November of the current year, participants will receive the book in an electronic form.

The Masterclass in Prien is fully booked. There are however places available for the Masterclass in Guardamar. For more information, see the left column.