Efficacy of adjunctive Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills in Childhood and Adolescent Dissociative Disorders: An open-label pilot study

  • Sneha Das
  • Nishant Goyal
  • Neha Sayeed


Background: Dissociative disorder is very common among children and adolescents. Dissociation is primarily caused by a stress reaction. Stressful situations can worsen symptoms and cause problems with functioning in everyday activities. Early identification and therapeutic intervention appear to be particularly efficacious in children in contrast to adults.

Aim: The current open-label pilot study aimed to examine the efficacy of adjunctive Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills in improving dissociative symptoms along with other psychopathology- depression, anxiety, coping, impulsivity and emotion dysregulation in adolescents with Dissociative disorders.

Methods: This was a hospital-based pilot, open-label trial based on purposive sampling. The study consisted of five adolescents aged between 12 to 17 years of age. Three were female, and two were male. Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents, Standard progressive matrices, Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale Version 11, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Childhood Depression Inventory, Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and Adolescent-Coping Orientation for Problem Experiences were administered as outcome measures. Participants received the DBT skills training module individually for eight weeks. Pre-post measurements were taken, and data was analysed using SPSS.

Results: Findings suggested a significant improvement in overall dissociative symptoms over a period of eight weeks of DBT skills therapy. There was also a significant improvement in depressive symptoms, anxiety, impulsivity, coping, and emotion regulation high effect size over the eight weeks of the study period.

Conclusion: DBT skills module for Adolescents was found to be effective therapeutic management for dissociative disorder. Results indicate viable resources and pathways for future development are suggested.

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