Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jenny Macfie

Committee Members

Kristina C. Gordon, Jeffrey W. Erickson

Abstract

This study examined four dimensions of trauma and how they affected levels of dissociation in male and female adult outpatients. These dimensions are age of onset, multiple trauma, chronicity, and recency. Two hundred forty-five adult outpatients at the University of Tennessee Psychological Clinic were administered the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and the Traumatic Experiences Checklist (TEC) as part of the routine intake procedure. Of those individuals, 177 patients reported trauma and were included in the final study sample. All four dimensions of trauma were found to be significantly correlated with dissociation. In addition, multiple trauma was found to be the most important factor contributing to the participants’ dissociation. An interaction was also found between age of subject at time of assessment and recency. Finally, gender moderated the effect of age of onset on dissociation scores. Ultimately multiple trauma, despite age of onset, chronicity, or recency, has the most weight when conceptualizing the complex relationship between dissociation and trauma.

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