Objective: This study attempted to estimate the prevalence of dissociative symptoms and disorders in a Canadian adult psychiatric inpatient population and also attempted to determine the extent to which dissociative disorders were recognized by the attending clinical staff.
Method: All appropriate and consenting adult psychiatric inpatients at the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, were given the Dissociative Experiences Scale. Patients scoring 25 or greater were interviewed with the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders. Admission or discharge diagnoses data were used to determine whether or not dissociative disorders were being recognized.
Results: A total of 48 patients completed the Dissociative Experiences Scale and 14 (29%) scored 25 or greater. The prevalence of dissociative disorders in this hospital population was estimated to be 17%. Dissociative identity disorder was found in six percent, dissociative amnesia in eight percent and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified in two percent of the population. These disorders tended to be under-recognized.
Conclusion: Research on more extensive populations is required to establish the true prevalence of dissociative symptoms and disorders in psychiatric inpatients.