An exploration of young adults' progress in treatment for dissociative disorder

J Trauma Dissociation. 2012;13(5):582-95. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2012.694841.


Although treatment outcome research on dissociative disorders (DD) is increasing, an examination of treatment progress in young adults with these disorders remains noticeably absent from the literature. Many studies of DD patients report mean ages over 35. The present study examined the response to treatment of a subsample of young adults ages 18-30 with dissociative identity disorder and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified who participated in a naturalistic, longitudinal study of DD treatment outcome. Over 30 months, these patients demonstrated decreases in destructive behaviors and symptomatology as well as improved adaptive capacities. Compared to the older adult participants in the study, the young adults were more impaired initially. However, these younger patients improved at a rapid pace, such that their clinical presentations were similar to or more improved than those of the older adults at the 30-month follow-up. This brief report suggests not only that young adult DD patients can benefit from a trauma-focused, phasic treatment approach but that their treatment may progress at a faster pace than that of older adults with DD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Checklist
  • Dissociative Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome