Childhood Trauma and Clinical Correlates of Dissociative Disorders among Adolescents: An Exploratory Study

  • Renu Sharma
  • Sujata Satapathy
  • Vandana Choudhary
  • Rajesh Sagar


Introduction: Though a substantial number of studies indicate the nexus between childhood trauma, PTSD, and dissociative disorders among adolescents, Indian literature is mostly silent. As reported incidents of child abuse are alarming in India, it was important to explore further on the subject.

Objective: To explore the relationship between childhood trauma and other clinical correlates like anxiety, PTSD and behavioural problems in adolescents diagnosed with dissociative disorder.

Method: 50 adolescents aged 13-18 years with a medical diagnosis of dissociative disorder were included. A convenient sampling technique was used to recruit the patients from a child guidance clinic of a tertiary care hospital. Child Dissociative Checklist (CDC), Children's Impact of Events Scale (CRIES -13), Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARD), and Youth self-Report (YSR from Child Behaviour Checklist) were administered.

Results: The sample consisted of 62% females and 38% males. A significant relationship was found between dissociation and anxiety, panic disorder and separation anxiety disorder. CDC had a positive correlation with internalisation, externalisation and behaviour problems. Regression analysis showed that behavioural problems and PTSD (CRIES-13) as two significant predictors of anxiety. Although there was no significant difference between adolescents with childhood trauma and without it, still the presence of trauma emerged as a significant predictor of dissociative disorders.

Conclusion: The findings indicated that dissociation had a significant association with childhood trauma, behaviour problems, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Thus, culturally appropriate trauma-focused interventions for the treatment of mental illnesses and the underlying trauma should be designed for addressing dissociative disorders in this age group.

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