The persistence of folly: a critical examination of dissociative identity disorder. Part I. The excesses of an improbable concept

Can J Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;49(9):592-600. doi: 10.1177/070674370404900904.


Objective: To examine the concept of dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Method: We reviewed the literature.

Results: The literature shows that 1) there is no proof for the claim that DID results from childhood trauma; 2) the condition cannot be reliably diagnosed; 3) contrary to theory, DID cases in children are almost never reported; and 4) consistent evidence of blatant iatrogenesis appears in the practices of some of the disorder's proponents.

Conclusions: DID is best understood as a culture-bound and often iatrogenic condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dissociative Disorders / epidemiology
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology