Six-year follow-up of the treatment of patients with dissociative disorders study

Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2017 Jun 28;8(1):1344080. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2017.1344080. eCollection 2017.


Objective: Literature on the treatment of dissociative disorders (DDs) suggests that these individuals require long-term and specialized treatment to achieve stabilization and functionality. There is considerable empirical support for specialized phasic, dissociation-focused treatment in reducing a myriad of psychological symptoms and self-harm in this population. However, until recently, there has been a paucity of longitudinal treatment research on DD patients. Method: In the present six-year follow-up study, 61 therapists who participated in the initial phase of the Treatment of Patients with Dissociative Disorders (TOP DD) study answered questionnaires about their study patient's stressors, quality of life, global functioning, victimization, and safety. These results provided a view of patients' progress six years since the beginning of the TOP DD study. Results: Longitudinal analyses demonstrated patients had significantly fewer stressors (Χ2 (6) = 18.76, p < .01, canonical r = .48, N = 76), instances of sexual revictimization (X2(1) = 107.05, p < .001) and psychiatric hospitalizations (t(54) = 2.57, p < .05, Cohen's d = .43), as well as higher global functioning (Χ2 (2) = 59.27, p < .001, canonical r = .65, N = 111). Conclusions: These findings continue to support the initial results of the TOP DD study that, despite marked initial difficulties and functional impairment, DD patients benefit from specialized treatment.

Keywords: Dissociative disorders; long-term treatment; revictimization; treatment.