Dissociative processes and symptoms of posttraumatic stress in Vietnam veterans.J Trauma Stress. 1999 Oct; 12(4):725-38.JT
The diagnostic taxonomy of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a contentious issue. Commentators are divided as to whether PTSD should remain grouped with the anxiety disorders or conceptualized as a dissociative disorder. This study sought to clarify the issue by investigating the extent to which anxiety and dissociative processes differentially predict the severity of each of the three symptoms clusters in PTSD. Seventy-four Australian veterans of the Vietnam War were assessed on measures of dissociation, trait anxiety, and posttraumatic stress symptomatology. Multiple regression analyses showed that all three symptoms clusters were predicted by anxiety, but the clusters differed in the pattern of their relationship with dissociation variables. The failure of pathological dissociation to predict PTSD symptoms prompts a reconsideration of the point at which dissociative mechanisms may impact on this disorder. The findings are consistent with current classification of combat-related PTSD as an anxiety disorder.