Comparison of brazilian spiritist mediumship and dissociative identity disorder

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2008 May;196(5):420-4. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31816ff3a1.


We studied the similarities and differences between Brazilian Spiritistic mediums and North American dissociative identity disorder (DID) patients. Twenty-four mediums selected among different Spiritistic organizations in São Paulo, Brazil, were interviewed using the Dissociative Disorder Interview Schedule, and their responses were compared with those of DID patients described in the literature. The results from Spiritistic mediums were similar to published data on DID patients only with respect to female prevalence and high frequency of Schneiderian first-rank symptoms. As compared with individuals with DID, the mediums differed in having better social adjustment, lower prevalence of mental disorders, lower use of mental health services, no use of antipsychotics, and lower prevalence of histories of physical or sexual childhood abuse, sleepwalking, secondary features of DID, and symptoms of borderline personality. Thus, mediumship differed from DID in having better mental health and social adjustment, and a different clinical profile.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dissociative Disorders / epidemiology
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment
  • Spiritualism / psychology*
  • United States