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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 43 (2001) 10, 673 - 682

New research

Comorbidity of self-mutilative behavior and dissociative symptoms in female psychiatric inpatients

D. Bracke, K. van Leeuwen, L. Verhofstadt-Denève

background dsm-iv(Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition) and recent research describe the comorbidity of self-mutilative behavior and dissociative symptoms and the role of traumatic experiences as a risk for both symptomgroups.
aims To investigate this comorbidity in female psychiatric patients with diverse dsm-iv-diagnoses. method The Questionnaire Self-mutilative behavior, the Questionnaire Traumatic Experiences and the Dissociation Questionnaire were filled in by 196 subjects.
results Correlations between self-mutilation, dissociation (except for amnesia) and traumatic experiences are meaningful and positive. Self-mutilators report significantly more dissociation than non-self-mutilators. Traumatic experiences predispose to dissociation with self-mutilation, except for amnesia. Traumatic experiences and loss of control can predict self-injurious behavior.
conclusion The study largely confirms the expected connection between self-injury, dissociation and traumatic experiences. The results suggest that, next to traumatic experiences, there are also other possible risk factors for dissociation and self-injury.

keywords dissociation, self-mutilative behavior, trauma