In this study, the prevalence and severity of traumatic experiences as reported by patients with dissociative disorders and with other DSM-IV psychiatric diagnoses were compared. Furthermore, the predictive value of emotional, physical, and sexual trauma with respect to somatoform and psychological dissociation was analyzed. In contrast with comparison patients, dissociative disorder patients reported severe and multifaceted traumatization. Physical and sexual trauma predicted somatoform dissociation, sexual trauma predicted psychological dissociation as well. According to the memories of the dissociative disorder patients, this abuse occurred in an emotionally neglectful and abusive social context. Pathological dissociation was best predicted by early onset of reported intense, chronic and multiple traumatization. Methodological limitations restricting causal inferences between reported trauma and dissociation are discussed.