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Psychology and Mental Health

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Prevalence of dissociative disorders among psychiatric inpatients in a German university clinic

Author(s): Gast U, Rodewald F, Nickel V, Emrich HM

Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the frequency of dissociative disorders among psychiatric inpatients in Germany and to investigate the relationship between childhood trauma and dissociation. The German version of the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), the Fragebogen für Dissoziative Symptome (FDS), was used to screen 115 consecutive inpatients admitted to the psychiatric clinic of a university hospital. Patients with FDS scores higher than 20 were interviewed by a trained clinician, using the German translation of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D-R). The German version of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) was administered to investigate prevalence of childhood trauma and relations between childhood trauma and dissociation in adult life. Twenty-five of the 115 patients (21.7%) had a score higher than 20 on the FDS. Of these, 15 patients were interviewed with the SCID-D-R. One patient was diagnosed with a dissociative identity disorder, three with dissociative disorders not otherwise specified, and one patient with depersonalization disorder. All diagnoses were confirmed clinically. A significant positive relationship was found between the severity of childhood trauma and dissociation. Dissociative disorders are common among German psychiatric inpatients. Clinicians who work in psychiatric inpatient units should be mindful of these disorders.

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