The influence of current stress on dissociative experiences: an exploratory study in a non-clinical population.

Research paper by Dirk D De Wachter, Alfred A Lange, Johan J Vanderlinden, Joyce J Pouw, Ernst E Strubbe

Indexed on: 19 Apr '06Published on: 19 Apr '06Published in: Journal of trauma & dissociation : the official journal of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD)


In this study, the relationship between current stress, as perceived by an individual, and dissociative phenomena is explored. All subjects were in an acute and naturally caused stress-situation-sudden threat of dismissal from their jobs in a large multinational corporation. Dissociation and stress were measured at two different times over three months. Since information campaigns and psychological support programs were offered to all participants, levels of stress were expected to decrease significantly. The data show that dissociative experiences are elevated when subjects experience high levels of current stress, though scores fall within the normal non-pathological range. Furthermore, it appears that a decrease in stress level is associated with a significant decrease of dissociative symptoms. The results support a one-directional causal relationship: a decrease in perceived stress leads to a decrease in dissociative phenomena.