The persistence of folly: critical examination of dissociative identity disorder. Part II. The defence and decline of multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder

Can J Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;49(10):678-83. doi: 10.1177/070674370404901005.


In this second part of our review, we continue to explore the illogical nature of the arguments offered to support the concept of dissociative identity disorder (DID). We also examine the harm done to patients by DID proponents' diagnostic and treatment methods. It is shown that these practices reify the alters and thereby iatrogenically encourage patients to behave as if they have multiple selves. We next examine the factors that make impossible a reliable diagnosis of DID--for example, the unsatisfactory, vague, and elastic definition of "alter personality." Because the diagnosis is unreliable, we believe that US and Canadian courts cannot responsibly accept testimony in favour of DID. Finally, we conclude with a guess about the condition's status over the next 10 years.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales