Dissociative symptomatology in adolescent diaries of incest victims

Eli Somer, Anita Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early diaries of two 29-year-old Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) female patients, who were amnestic to childhood incest memories until the current treatment, were content-analyzed and compared with adolescent diaries of three women who had no knovm history of psy-chopathology or child abuse and with one adolescent diary written by a woman in treatment for a chronic Adjustment Disorder. Diaries were transcribed and coded by several raters for 77 items in six major categories: 1) thoughts and ideas; 2) positive daily experiences; 3) emotional pain; 4) cross-gender relationships; 5) other relationships; and 6) dissociation. Interater reliability checks were performed on every tenth page. Diaries written by adult DID patients during their adolescence had no references to abuse but contained significantly more dissociative themes, and had significantly fewer references to cross-gender relationships, than controls. The overall mood and the number of entries describing positive daily experiences showed differences which were not found to be significant. We believe this could be accounted for by the buffering effect of the dissociative defense. Further controlled research is needed to substantiate these findings, but the accessibility and diagnostic potential of such diaries is worth exploring for early identification of child incest victims who are developing a dissociative disorder. Our data show that DID in our adult patients did not appear de novo during psychotherapy and corroborated the existence of dissociative symptoms years before the formal diagnosis was made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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