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​Sven Schild, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Certified EMDR Clinician

PSYCHOFORM AND SOMATOFORM DISSOCIATION AND 
PTSD IN IN DEAF ADULTS

ABSTRACT


Both deafness and dissociation disconnect the individual from certain aspects of the external environment. Dissociation among the deaf population has been largely neglected as an area of scientific investigation. The purpose of this study was twofold: First, to examine the psychometrics of two dissociation measures – the Dissociation scale of the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) and the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire-20 (SDQ-20) – and second, to evaluate the relationship between dissociation and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in deaf adults. A diverse sample of 79 deaf adults was assessed with the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI), and the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire-20 (SDQ-20). Results provided support for the concept of psychoform dissociation, as measured by the TSI Dissociation scale, in deaf adults. However, somatoform dissociation, as measured by the SDQ-20, showed lower internal consistency. The SDQ-5, a shortened version of the SDQ-20, was unreliable in the current sample. Deaf adults were significantly higher on psychoform dissociation than the norm samples for hearing adults. As in hearing samples, dissociation – both psychoform and somatoform – was significantly related with PTSD symptoms. In addition, those with dissociative PTSD displayed significantly more symptoms of depression, anger, impaired self-reference, tension reduction behavior and somatoform dissociation than did the non-dissociation PTSD group.