Association of Peritraumatic Dissociation With Symptoms of Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Aim: In this study, we evaluated whether peritraumatic dissociation (PD) was associated with symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and whether this association was modified by trauma prior to police work. Method: Symptoms of depression, PTSD, peritraumatic dissociative experience (PDE), and trauma prior to police work were measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale, PTSD Checklist–Civilian, PDE questionnaire, and the Brief Trauma questionnaire, respectively, in 328 police officers. Separate regression models were used to assess if either symptoms of depression or PTSD were associated with PD stratified by prior trauma. Means were adjusted for race, number of drinks per week, and smoking. Results: PD was associated with symptoms of PTSD and depression (β = 0.65, p < .001 and β = 0.27, p < .001, respectively). PD was positively associated with symptoms of PTSD regardless of prior trauma (β = 0.61, p < .001(without prior trauma), 0.75, p < .001 (with prior trauma). In contrast to PTSD, depression symptoms were significantly associated with PD scores in individuals with prior trauma (β = 0.47, p < .001), but not in individuals without prior trauma (β = 0.13, p = .165). Limitations: This is a cross-sectional study. Outcomes were obtained via self-report and were not clinically diagnosed. Aspects of both the trauma event as well as the symptoms and severity of PD may have introduced recall bias. Conclusion: These results add to the literature indicating that PD plays a role in symptoms of PTSD and depression and how prior trauma may modify this relationship.

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